Denis Petrilak wants your ideas

New Chester principal begins by reaching out to students and the community


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  • Denis Petrilak (Photo by Frances Ruth Harris)



By Frances Ruth Harris

— Denis Petrilak began his tenure as the new principal of Chester High School by asking for student input. What changes would they like to see? The students are responding through social media.

Petrilak also invites members of the community to share their ideas with him.

"I love my job," he said. "I love working with families and the community. The people here are amazing and, even during my first week, I have been welcomed with great support and encouragement."

He said he seeks a "deeper appreciation of the best parts of Chester," and that he's enthusiastic about the direction the district is taking.

"I'm going to be a good listener and a good observer," he said.

Petrilak has coached teams, taught, and served as an assistant principal. His previous service was at George F. Baker High School in Tuxedo, where he as principal he helped create the school’s STEM Academy. He was also a member of the team developing Baker's conversion charter school application.

He said he is excited about Chester's Chrome Book initiative. His goal is to work with all the members of the community to find out what's best about Chester.

He and his wife of 25 years, Eileen, live in Monroe and have two adult sons.

Petrilak said he really wants to see Chester succeed. "I'm where I should be," he said.


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