Dave Shafron, Counselor

Dave Shafron, Counselor

What is your name and department? My name is Dave Shafron and I work in student services as a counselor.

What led to you becoming a counselor? It started my sophomore year in college when I was helping students at the time, showing them around the campus and kind of being a tour guide. And then I thought, wow, kids really need help with the college process. So that led to my first job out of college, which was a college admission counselor. I reviewed applications, I reviewed students for scholarships, I showed them around campus and kind of worked as their student representative. And then again,  that just showed how they need the assistance. It showed how much I enjoyed working with students and families through the college admission process. But it also, very organically led to wanting to work in a high school setting, which I could see myself doing. The idea of working in admissions long term just wasn’t something that I saw myself doing. I wanted to work with students more holistically, not just centered on one school. And so while I was an admission counselor, I went to graduate school to become a school counselor. That had been a job that I wanted since probably my early 20s, and eventually I figured out the right path to get there. And I had always been involved with cross country and tracks, I eventually wanted to coach at the high school, high school setting as well. So, I feel very lucky that I get to work a job that I wanted since I was in my early 20s and late teens.

What is your favorite part about your job? It’s very fast paced, there’s rarely ever dull moments. It’s never repetitive. It’s always different. There’s always surprises. You always got to stay on your toes. You got to really stay attentive to everything around you. I like that. There’s energy to a high school that I just can’t see many workplaces having. I think that the other part too, is my role. You don’t always know the impact you have until many months or years later. I do feel like there’s an impact being made. Even though you don’t get that like immediate gratification from a test result or something. But you just kind of start to see your impact towards the end of a student’s tenure at the school, and you start to reap that benefit.

What jobs did you have before this? I worked as a college admissions counselor for seven years. That was the day from a professional aspect. Then I worked at Lincoln Park High School in Chicago for two years. But my very first job in high school was at Papa John’s Pizza, and then I worked at Pizza Hut. I also worked at Mission Hills Country Club, and that’s where I played a lot of golf. I love golf.

That ties into the next question, what do you like to do in your leisure time? I’m a really passionate health enthusiast. I really don’t think it’s like an obsession but it’s just a lifestyle that I have lived since I was a freshman in high school. I started off as a runner and I’m still a runner, but I have certainly evolved into other areas of fitness, whether it’s biking or rowing or strength training or yoga. So even now, I’m 43, and I still workout at least six days a week, but I try to do it every day. I love playing golf, too. I’ve got two kids, I got a two year old and a six year old. So then when I’m not working coaching, then they’re consuming a lot of my time, which is great, because they’re super fun and cute and funny. So then when they’re asleep or doing their own thing that’s when I can have my leisure time.

What is your favorite movie? Oh, good one. These are always tough questions because it can change every month. I love the Ocean’s 11 series, I liked that trilogy. Forrest Gump is a classic. I think, when a movie comes on, on the TV, what makes me stop and watch? Oh my gosh, Batman: Dark Knight Rises. That’s the the only movie that I’ve gone to see in the movie theater twice. I couldn’t stop thinking about the movie. I was like, I gotta go back and watch it again. I also love the Mission Impossible series. I’m sure in 20 minutes, you’re gonna leave here and I’m gonna think oh, my gosh, how could I forget about that. But I’m comfortable with those answers.

What impact do you hope to leave at Niles North? Counselors work a lot behind the scenes and do our thing, but you don’t see us every day like a teacher. I’ve got 260 kids on my caseload. And I really want, and this may not be realistic, all 260 kids to be able to say, Mr. Shafron was a really good counselor and that he listened and he never judged me. I really do want students to see me in that way. I’m also a coach and as a coach, I want to leave a legacy that that where I have consistent state qualifying type athletes coming out of the program. That’s an external reward. I received a note from a senior who talked about just how much he developed a love for running, coming out of the program. And that to me, meant the world and, and I don’t ever think that my kids should just spend the rest of their lives running. But I do hope that they develop an appreciation for a healthy lifestyle. Well-being, mental-state, happiness, their ability to be a good father, ability to be a good family person, a good employee, all that stuff, I think stems from having a very healthy outlook on your life.