Dunmorean of the Month: John Marichak

marichakJohn Marichak set to begin duties as Dunmore School District Superintendent
By Steve Svetovich

There is a new sheriff in town.

As a student-athlete, football coach, principal and school administrator, John Marichak has always been a leader, so expect nothing different and a smooth transition as he begins his duties next month as Dunmore School District superintendent.

Marichak starts his work in the Dunmore School District this month before officially becoming superintendent of the Dunmore School District in early July.

He served this past school year as the associate superintendent of the Scranton School District. The previous school year he was acting superintendent of the Scranton School District. He replaced Bill King.

Prior to those roles, Marichak served as principal at North Pocono High School for five years.

He graduated from Scranton Technical High School in 1987 where he participated in football, basketball and baseball and was a member of the National Honor Society. He was an all-scholastic football player and an all-star in basketball.

He received an academic scholarship to Villanova University where he graduated in 1990 with a B.S. in Marketing. He went on to receive an MBA from the school in 1992.

Marichak’s career focus then changed as he went on to receive teaching and principal certificates from Wilkes University.

He then began a teaching and coaching career that continued to spiral upward. He taught social studies and was head football coach at Scranton High School for 11 years and Honesdale High School for two years.

Then his career focus changed again as he became principal of North Pocono High School in 2009. With the new demands and responsibilities of a school administrator, he decided to give up coaching football

Marichak is married to the former Kelly Chiaro. The name is no stranger to the Dunmore community. Her parents, Ralph and Charlotte Chiaro are from Dunmore.

The Marichak couple has two children: John, Jr., a senior basketball and football player at Scranton High School who will attend Kings College in Wilkes Barre next year; and Natalie, a junior football cheerleader at Scranton High School.

Marichak said his coaching career and experience as a principal will help him in his new role as Superintendent of Dunmore Schools. “Absolutely, it will help,” he said. “It will help me at all levels. As a coach and as a principal, you are dealing at all levels with multiple people and personalities. You soon find out everyone is different. You put people in the best possible place to succeed. You defer to the greatest good.

“You find out everything is not cookie cutter. What might be the goal for one person just may not be the goal of another person. You learn to deal with all different types of personalities.

“As a principal, you learn how to manage a large school and different student personalities. You manage faculty. You learn how to handle state mandates. It is a lot like coaching, but on a larger basis.

“The same holds true as a school superintendent. You have to multi task and always be prepared for something different going on. And there always is something going on. You need to learn to put problems in their pecking order. It is all a great experience.”

Marichak said he had great preparation for life during his years at Villanova. “Going to Villanova on an academic scholarship was a dream come true for me. The academic and athletic experiences I had there were simply the greatest of my life.”

Marichak talked about his goals in his new role as Superintendent of Dunmore Schools. “Dunmore really exists and thrives as a community based school. It always has. I want to keep the Dunmore traditions going and maybe add something along the way.

“I want to focus on this and the big task. I want to get started on the task at hand.

“I want to continue to capitalize on the success of an always community based school.

“I will only try to make changes to put the Dunmore School District in the best possible position to be successful. I want to help make the Dunmore students career ready or college ready.

“I simply want to help put people in a position to be successful in whatever they do.”

Marichak will be a good role model to follow. He is old school all the way and his track record speaks loudly for itself.

With John Marichak, the Dunmore School District has put itself in its best position to succeed.

“I can’t wait to get started,” Marichak said.

Former Dunmore Pitcher Working on His Dream

By Steve Svetovich

Former Dunmore High School All Region pitcher Josh Zilla has a dream—to pitch in the big leagues. And he’s spent most of this summer in Florida working on making that dream a reality.

Son of Robert and Donna Zilla, Dunmore, Josh will be entering his sophomore year later this month as an Information Technology major at Keystone College, where he is a pitcher on the baseball team.

Josh Zilla, a pitcher with a dream of playing in the major leagues, is currently playing at Keystone College.

Josh Zilla, a Dunmore pitcher with a dream of playing in the major leagues, is currently playing at Keystone College.

Josh spent most of this summer pitching in the South Florida Collegiate League. His team played a 32-game schedule while Josh worked on developing a third pitch—a splitter.

The sophomore hurler played three years of varsity baseball at Dunmore High School, where he played four total years of baseball and four years of football. He was an all-star football player as well as a baseball all-star as a junior. He was an All Regional pitcher as a senior when he was named the Lackawanna League Division III Player of the Year. Josh was 7-0 with a minuscule 0.52 earned run average (ERA) as a senior pitcher. He fired a no-hitter and threw 24 consecutive scoreless innings at one point in the season. He struck out 61 batters.

Zilla pitched 14 innings in his freshman season at Keystone. He had a 2-0 record and impressive 1.90 ERA. He has a 3.0 grade point average at Keystone.

His coach at Keystone, Jamie Shevchik, recommended he learn a third pitch, and that is when Josh made his decision to play in the South Florida Collegiate League.

“He wanted me to work on a new pitch, a splitter,” said Zilla. “I worked on getting movement, getting it down and throwing it for strikes. I had a nice experience there learning a new pitch.”

Josh said he learned a lot from Shevchik in his freshman season.

“He teaches me to stay competitive and remain focused on the mound. Keep my mind straight and be more fluent with my delivery.”

The righty pitcher said coach Mark Finan and his assistants also taught him a lot at Dunmore.

“Coach Finan and his assistants were always telling me to be focused and keep my head in the game,” said Zilla. “They kept my mind straight and focused.”

Josh has been playing baseball since age five right up to Legion and now collegiate baseball. He loves the game and is spending the final month of his summer pitching for the Dunmore entry in the Dunmore Freedom collegiate summer league (formerly CSBL). Home games are played at Dunmore’s Sherwood Park.

“I want to keep getting better as a pitcher. I want to work on my control and velocity. I want to pick my grades up and work on getting my Information Technology degree, but that is a backup plan,” said Zilla. “My ultimate goal is to get drafted and pitch in the MLB. I want to pitch in the big leagues.”