- Parma City School District
#MyPCSDStory: Lara A. Svihlik, Valley Forge Class of 2000
November 25, 2019
Name: Lara A. Svihlik
High School: Valley Forge High School
Graduation Year: Class of 2000
College, Major(s), Degree(s) Earned, Graduation:
2004 Bachelor of Science in Education from Bowling Green State University
2008 Master of Science in Education from Baldwin Wallace University
2020 Master of Arts in Education from Concordia-University of Chicago
Current Job Title and Location:
Administrative Specialist for Parochial and Outside Placements, Office of Exceptional Students
How did your experiences at the Parma City School District help you to achieve success in your career?
The Parma City School District instilled in me the resiliency and work ethic to be an educator for 15 years; 9 years in Chicago, and 6 years in Cleveland suburban schools. PCSD never "spoiled" us. Teachers and administrators positively "pushed" us, and prepared us for the next step in our educational lives and the real world. Because of PCSD, I had capacity and learned the skills to handle and cope in professional and personal situations.
What is your favorite childhood memory growing up?
I would say being a Valley Forge Cheerleader at Byers Field. The crisp fall Friday nights at a football game cheering on your high school team, does it get any better than that? And ya, we always did beat Parma High!
Who was your favorite teacher and how did they inspire you?
Miss Nagy, my fourth grade teacher when Arlington Elementary was a still a K-6 building. I could never understand math (unlike my three siblings) and yet she believed in me, worked with me, and never gave up on me. She taught me that hard work can sometimes get you further in life than brains. I never forgot that.
Looking back at your school years, what is one thing that has stayed with you throughout the years?
The opportunities. I was able to take lifeguarding at the VF pool for a physical education elective course. Because of that opportunity, I was employed at Parma Heights City Pool as a lifeguard and swim instructor for many summers. My father never knew how to swim and I think swimming is a life safety skill that should be learned and enjoyed. The opportunities for career prep and art electives at PCSD are phenomenal, in which neighboring school districts cannot compete.
What does the PCSD mean to you?
PCSD to me means originality and camaraderie. There is an immediate connection when you meet someone who also grew up in Parma and attended PCSD. Connections follow you. My father-in-law was a police officer for Parma City for more than 30 years. I have been blessed in my career because of PCSD and my parents. I am a product of this district and I am Parma Proud.
What is one thing you want people to know about you?
I want people to know that I believe in equitable access for all. I will continue to be an advocate for special education, all students, families, staff, and community partners. I have been so impressed with all the stakeholders here.
Why are you Parma proud?
It is a true honor and blessing to be able to serve the hard working students, proud families, dedicated staff members and the supportive community to the city that I call "home". Growing up here gave me an "old school" humble mentality to never give up and work for all that I have. After living in a big city and small suburb with my husband and two young children, I have learned that there is no other place like Parma. Where else can you visit a farm, eat pierogies, and see pink flamingos all in one day? Thank you for welcoming me back. It is good to be home. Go Patriots!