Stan Zoller '73
Alumni Association - posted on 3/23/2011
Lakeland alumnus Stan Zoller might be teaching high school students, but he isn't teaching "high school" journalism. "The training is as real for these students as any journalist," Zoller said. "The fundamental skills are there no matter what age the student." His journey from Lakeland student to journalism teacher at Rolling Meadows High School in Chicago's northwest suburbs has been a rich and rewarding one. Stan loves what he does and is energized by his work.
Stan came to Lakeland in 1969 as a business major, but switched to English because of his love for journalism. After graduating, he worked at Pioneer Press, a local suburban newspaper chain in the Chicago area, first writing news, then sports. After three years, Stan took a position with American Medical News in the late 1970s. Organized medicine was going through its first major medical liability crisis, giving Stan a lot of stories to tell. He traveled all over the U.S. covering health care issues that ranged from the Pennsylvania Dutch Amish to providing health care during construction of the Alaskan pipeline.
After working 20 years in the industry, Stan decided to pass his knowledge of journalism to young people as a teacher. He worked at Waukegan High School where he taught English for six years and advised the yearbook and newspaper. In 2005, he joined the faculty at Rolling Meadows High School where he teaches freshman and sophomore English as well as journalism. He also advises the student newspaper, The Pacer. Stan's student protégés have won numerous awards on the national level, and the paper is a recurrent winner of awards such as the NISPA Golden Eagle, Quill and Scroll's Gallup Award and the Kettle Moraine Press Association's "All-KEMPA Award". The Pacer has been regarded by national judges as "nearly flawless" and "one of the best papers in the country." Stan's editors-in-chief were named Illinois Scholastic Journalist of the Year in 2010 and 2011, the first time a school has had successive winners.
In addition to his work at Rolling Meadows, Stan teaches at summer workshops at The University of Iowa and the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. He is vice president of the Kettle Moraine Press Association and the Illinois Journalism Education Association. He is also a member of the Journalism Education Association's (JEA) Multicultural Commission.
Stan has a master's degree in secondary education from Roosevelt University, Chicago, and has done additional post-graduate work at Indiana University, Kansas State University and Hampton University, where he served as a Fellow for the American Society of News Editors. In 2010, Stan received national accolades for his work from the Dow Jones News Fund as one of four Special Recognition Advisers. He is also a Master Journalism Educator (MJE) as certified by the JEA.
Stan fondly remembers his Lakeland days working at The Mirror, "We were a small, but dedicated, group that got a newspaper out." He recalls faculty members such as Dick Leach, Dave Lauer, Linda Tolman, J. Schilcutt and Stephen Gould in the days when he was a German professor. "It was the late 60s and early 70s, and we were doing a lot of searching. I'm Jewish and there I was with all these UCC ministers. Not only did I appreciate the interest in the whole person, but the strong, open communication skills that were taught and practiced."
Stan also remembers the words of Ralph Ley, president of the board of trustees, who said, "Lakeland is a place where people can become whole people." For Stan, this holistic spirit described by Rev. Ley has been a keystone in his own development. Stan is very aware that the Lakeland philosophy - in which professors take a personal interest in the futures of their students - has spilled over into his own teaching. "My son once shadowed me at school. He was amazed that I remembered the names of my students from previous years. You could go to the big schools with the fancy football stadiums, but at Lakeland, you could always say to a professor, 'I need to talk to you about something,' and you knew that person would listen."
Stan and his wife, Laura, and their two grown sons, David and Michael, currently live in Buffalo Grove, Ill. Stan's hobbies include photography, cycling, railroading and volunteering at the Illinois Railway Museum (IRM). He works with various Jewish organizations in the Chicago area and is a member of the Village of Buffalo Grove Bike Committee. He also writes two blogs: one for ChicagoNow called Suburban Scene, and another called "Gaggin' in the Grove" about events and government in Buffalo Grove.
Stan said recent graduates need to be patient. "Life is a marathon, not a sprint. Absorb information from more than the internet. Interpersonal communications and relationships go beyond Facebook. Appreciate people for not only what they do for a living, but who they are and how they embrace life."
You can reach Stan Zoller at email@example.com
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