WHS Math Department Welcomes New Teacher Zachary Okolowitcz


Mr. Okolowitcz smiles for a picture in his classroom.

Anna Van der Linden

Mr. Okolowitcz smiles for a picture in his classroom.
Mr. Okolowitcz smiles for a picture in his classroom.

By Devin McKinney, Abby Hile, and Andrea Traietti

Class of 2017

As an adolescent, Mr. Zachary Okolowitcz considered himself an obnoxious high school student.  “I was that student in the classroom that every teacher hated and got annoyed with,” he said. “I was always getting yelled at and getting detention because I was talking.” But thanks to the special attention of one caring teacher, Mr. Okolowitcz was inspired to focus on his studies and become a math teacher, which led to his current position at Walpole High School.

Mr. Okolowitcz attended West Cranston High School in Cranston, Rhode Island, where this teacher had a large impact on him. “She was very encouraging and definitely a mentor to me,” he said, and without her influence, Mr. Okolowitcz would not be where he is today. His teacher motivated him to support his peers by tutoring his classmates in math – his best subject.

After high school, he went on to Assumption College where he received his Bachelor’s Degree of Arts. He realized that helping others was what he enjoyed most, so he decided to pursue a career in teaching. “I was driven by that sense of accomplishment that you have when you finish a really tough problem,” he said, “and that is something that I wanted to instill in students.”

After teaching at Braintree for two years, Mr. Okolowitcz joined the Walpole High community as a new Geometry and Algebra I teacher at the beginning of the 2014-2015 school year. Despite being unfamiliar with the environment and the way the school works, he has adjusted quite easily. Other than the transition to longer class periods, Mr. Okolowitcz feels comfortable with all aspects of life at Walpole High. “I admire the sense of community and pride within the school,” he said, “especially from the athletic programs, clubs, and the extracurricular activities.”

As a new teacher, Mr. Okolowitcz has already made many aspirations for the school year. “I have a goal of getting to know each of my students and having them all  succeed within my classroom,” said Mr. Okolowitcz, who believes in a student-centered style of teaching. He also has a few non-academic objectives: “I want to find a club or activity I can lead or co-lead because I do want to get more involved with the school community,” Mr. Okolowitcz said.  Additionally, since he has experience playing volleyball in both high school and college, Mr. Okolowitcz wants to start a male volleyball team at Walpole High.

Not only does Mr. Okolowitcz enjoy sports such as volleyball, but he is also interested in design. “The holidays always spark my interest with the decor,” he said, “as well as modern home decoration and interior design.” Mr. Okolowitcz believes that if he were not a teacher, he would most likely be doing something with design.

A smooth transition and an enthusiastic perspective for the remainder of this school year have characterized Mr. Okolowitcz’s entrance into the Walpole High School Math Department.  “People really enjoy what they do here,” said Mr. Okolowitcz, “and the atmosphere at Walpole High is sure to be a good fit.”  Adolescent insubordinance behind him, Mr. Okolowitcz is ready to make his mark on Walpole High with energy, kindness, and innovative ideas.