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Faculty Feature - Mr. Thomas Polak
Grand River Academy

A one-year internship turned into an over decade tenure at Grand River Academy for Mr. Thomas Polak. In 2009, when Mr. Polak first arrived to the GRA campus he was intern seeking to take a year off from school before pursuing his master's degree. He enjoyed his experience so much as an intern he ended up never leaving GRA. "I liked GRA so much and Grand River thought I fit here so well that then Head of School convinced me to stay", said Mr. Polak.

Mr. Polak graduated from Christendom College with a bachelor's degree in Philosophy and received his master's degree in Science and Clinical Counseling from Gannon University. Since his days as intern Mr. Polak has worked in a plethora of positions. From maintenance, to working in the residential halls, teacher, tennis coach and Director of Student Life. Currently he serves as School Counselor and Assistant to Dean of Students.

Mr. Polak contributions to GRA are invaluable as he offers daily mentoring and counseling to the young men of GRA. If you are looking for Mr. Polak on the GRA campus he is most likely in the basement of Shepard Hall in the Productive Growth Center, a counseling center on the GRA campus that offers young men an unique approach to counseling by integrating wood shop with traditional counseling methods. Productive Growth Center is an idea Mr. Polak created four years ago with the previous Head of School who believed in Mr. Polak's vision and assisted him into transforming the basement of Shepard Hall into a renowned counseling center in Ashtabula County.

Counseling young men is Mr. Polak's passion and the reason he loves being at GRA. Mr. Polak sees himself in the young men he counsels on a daily basis and wants to be a positive influence on as many young men as possible. "I myself felt like I was in their position and it was the aid of one man in my life that allowed me to see certain things about myself", Mr. Polak explained. "At the end of the day they remain the inspiration."

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