Stephanie Iafrate and Michael Boll: Love At First Sight


Niles West teachers Michael Boll and Stephanie Iafrate have been married since 2014.

By Sam Galanopoulos, Staff Writer

In high school, many students look to find their high school sweetheart. Whether they catch a glimpse of their crush in the hallway or sit behind their cute classmate in math class, love is always flowing in the air. Not only do students experience this phenomenon of love at our high school, but many faculty members are married and teaching at Niles West. English and reading resource teacher Stephanie Iafrate and chemistry teacher Michael Boll exemplify what it means to find true love.

Upon entering college, Iafrate knew she wanted to teach the minds of the new generation; the real question was what subject she wanted to teach. With her love of reading and literature, she found English and History to be the perfect fit.

“I always knew I wanted to be a teacher, but to be honest, I didn’t know what I wanted to teach. In high school, I did a study abroad program, and that is when I fell in love with English. So knowing I wanted to teach older kids, English and adding history were what I wanted to do,” Iafrate said.

Iafrate’s continuous passion for reading and knowledge is instilled into the students she interacts with on a day-to-day basis. Junior Sami Noor had much to say about Iafrate’s dedication.

“She is a very helpful teacher and helps us understand our curriculum in an easier way. She brings a lot of positivity when she is with us. She personally impacts me by always helping me specifically with difficult reading and in homework, little things that mean a lot to me and help me in the long run,” Noor said.

Boll geared towards the other end of the spectrum: the sciences. Chemicals and creative aspects drew him in, allowing him to continue his love while pursuing a career.

“Well, my high school chemistry teacher was really outgoing, loved to do experiments, and he let us do a lot of experiments. We did a DEMO show for the whole school when I was in high school. It was really neat and made me really interested in it. I originally majored in chemical engineering and there wasn’t enough people interaction, so having all of my chemistry credits, I went back to get my teaching degree,” Boll said.

His love for science and chemistry is infectious to his students. Senior Nick Lohan finds Boll’s attitude helpful towards his success throughout the course.

“Having Mr. Boll as a teacher is great. Even though [AP Chemistry] is the hardest class I’ve ever had, I really look forward to it. I can always count on having a great time in class while still understanding the material. Mr. Boll brings fun to a subject that many don’t enjoy, and that only helps us learn as students,” Lohan said.

Students aren’t the only ones appreciative of teachers. Boll’s colleague and fellow chemistry teacher, Michael Nocella, praised Boll’s ability to grasp such a hard subject.

“Mr. Boll enriches the science department through his deep understanding of the particulate nature of chemistry. He has a lot of energy and is well-versed with a variety of chemical demonstrations. He even brings his own children into his classroom, which makes it a family experience,” Nocella said.

After both Iafrate and Boll got jobs in district 219, communications and in-person interactions set off the spark between them.

“We met at Niles North at the D219 university course. We both took this three-hour class, one day a week together. I knew of Mr. Boll, but I never really interacted with him. To be honest, I thought he was a little odd at first,” Iafrate said. “He’d walk around in his tie-dye lab coat with glasses, and he had long hair at the time. He wasn’t very friendly. I’d try to say hi, but he wouldn’t really say hi back, and I figured he was just a little weird.”

Looking at things from a different view, Boll was aware of Iafrate’s presence even though they didn’t regularly communicate.

“A couple years ago, she used to wear big, flared-out, bell-bottom pants, so I would see her in the hall but didn’t know if she was a teacher necessarily. I never really noticed her until we started taking the class and was curious who she was. While we were taking the class, we had to pair up with another teacher. Before another English teacher partnered with her, I suggested that we work together. I basically finagled the whole thing so we’d be together,” Boll said.

The initial first date between them was the beginning of the rest of their lives together.

“After Mr. Boll [secretly] paired me up to be his partner in the class, it ended in him asking me on our first date. Continuing being together a lot, we just meshed very well. I was very ‘anti-date someone you work with’ until it happened to me. It just makes things so much easier. We come and leave work every day together, sometimes have lunch together, and it’s just very convenient for us,” Iafrate said.

Boll was in agreement that their first few dates lead to their continuous communication.

“Our very first date was at Pita Inn. I ordered the lunch special, so it was this huge plate of meat and food, so she probably thought that I would never stop eating. After going out that one time, we had a couple more lunch dates in between class, and after spending some time together, I knew I was locked,” Boll said.

With their love for each other continuing to grow, marriage and starting a family was the next step in their lives. Boll and Iafrate are now married and have two young sons, Logan and Oliver, and they wouldn’t have it any other way.

“I’m not going to lie, I didn’t envision my life like this. I would have never, ever guessed in a million years that I would marry another teacher and have two kids. I knew career-wise what I wanted to do, but I never knew personally what I wanted,” Iafrate said. “When the other unexpected part of life came, like Mr. Boll and my two boys came, I could have never envisioned it, but I can’t imagine it any other way.”

Both Iafrate and Boll promote their love of family, teaching, and each other in their everyday lives. Whether it’s their morning car rides to school or cutting food for their two boys at dinner, these normal routines are so valuable to them, and they wouldn’t change it for the world.