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Niles West News

The Student News Site of Niles West High School

Niles West News

The Student News Site of Niles West High School

Niles West News

Dean David Hawk Makes A Swooping Return To Niles West

Sarina Nur
Dean David Hawk sits humbly at his desk.

Amid the bustling corridors and echoing halls of Niles West, a sense of renewal fills the air. As the 2023-2024 academic year dawns, Niles West has welcomed back one of its own with the new appointment of Dean David Hawk.

Hawk grew up in Morton Grove and graduated Niles West in 2003 before coming back from 2014-2019 as a dean. In his five years of being a staff member at the school and previous memories as a student, Hawk conserved a reputation of cheerfulness, friendliness, respect and an easy going balance of authoritative leadership and gentle support.

“It feels like I’m coming home,” Hawk said.

He’s built a lot of strong positive professional relationships with the staff members, so coming back for him was an easy transition.

With experience as the former dean of Ridgewood High School, a previous dean at Niles West and a former student, Hawk believes in collaborative learning and a safe and secure school environment. He takes individualistic needs in consideration when approaching his kids, as he calls them, and is secure in his values.

Hawk remembers his experiences at both Ridgewood. “Ridgewood is an amazing school, I had a lot of positive experiences there, but I missed the team mentality, the collegiality amongst the staff members that I really came to value after I left,” Hawk said.

Hawk’s approach to being a dean is to take the time to get to know the students and know what they’re about. He wants to know what is important to them and what they need.

“Being a former member in the community [and] growing up in Morton Grove, I have that experience for myself which hopefully I want to try to give back to students and help them enjoy their time here, too, just like I did,” Hawk said.

Hawk was also a student-athlete during his time at Niles West. One of his favorite memories involves playing on the boys soccer team before going to the Super-Sectionals against Maine South.

“It was a close game, it was a great game, it was rainy, but that was a really big achievement for the boys soccer program and something I will always remember. It was an important part of my life and I hope that other students regardless of what their interest is, they find a connection like that,” Hawk said.

Having these experiences and background helped him hold onto his values, as well as maintain the faculty’s appreciation for his social and emotional skills, professionalism, optimism and level-headed attitude. High school is a time for a lot of change, and Hawk is right there with it, attempting to bring his best to the table to help students and enrich their own experiences.

Counselor Bashar Jazrawi commented on his qualities, immediately taking a liking to him and his work ethic.

“He’s involved, he wants to know the kid’s stories so he can help. He’s not afraid of working harder than the usual 8-3. He’s here early and leaves late and is consistent, he actually cares, a lot. He goes above and beyond. He’s also very honest,” Jazrawi said.

This is a common perception of Dean Hawk, as Counselor Joyce Van Alstin, who has worked with him and known him for years, said the same thing.

“He was such a go-getter. Hard worker, motivated, supports students– not to get them, but ‘hey, how can I help you, what’s going on, how can I support you?’. He was always child-student centered and willing to partner with families, willing to partner with teachers and willing to partner with counselors,” Van Alstin said.

Hawk’s team-oriented mindset allows him to easily connect with others, wasting no time on awkward introductions, but instead meeting everyone with a warm smile and direct answers.

It truly speaks highly of the school when a student comes here and sees what goals they are able to achieve, only to do a full circle. To come back, provide and help out the community, it means that they believe in the system, once was part of the system, and for Hawk and his piercing eyes that scan the halls, he thinks there is a lot more to do and make it better. “World peace. You know, hold kids accountable, get them on track, and make sure they graduate. Make them better citizens of the world,” Hawk said.

Welcome home, Dean David Hawk.

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About the Contributors
Farah Albayati, Staff Writer
Farah Albayati is a senior and this is her first year on NWN. She has an unyielding commitment to innovation and impact and is eager to write what others are afraid to speak about. She is an advocate for MENA students, women and education. Aside from writing, she plays sports and enjoys hanging out with her friends.
Sarina Nur, Staff Writer

Sarina is a sophomore and this is her second year on NWN. She is a part of Model UN and participates in Dance Marathon. In her free time, Sarina loves to read, watch movies and listen to music. You can find her at home hanging out with her family or with a good book in hand.

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