John Zbornik, affectionately known as “Dr. Z” by Wellington students, has been named the 2016-2017 School Psychologist of the Year by the Elyria-Lorain Association of School Psychologists.
The recognition puts him in the running to become Ohio School Psychologist of the Year.
Zbornik has been the Wellington Schools’ psychologist for the past four years and is contracted through the Educational Service Center of Lorain County. While the award was not given for any one particular piece of his work, he said his findings on reading anxiety in children, published last year in the Early Childhood Education Journal, certainly helped.
His 30 years of research on the subject has also been translated by colleagues into British Portuguese to be taught at schools in Brazil and throughout South America.
“It was overwhelming to get this award,” he said. “I’ve spent most of my life working in the county and it’s where my heart is. To be recognized by my colleagues is a great honor. I really like the people that I work with and for. This is a blue collar, hard-working place. We’re all struggling and working together.”
Before coming to Wellington, Zbornik spent time in other districts including Amherst, Clearview, Firelands, and Lakewood during his 33-year career.
Earlier this year, a two-part interview with Zbornik discussing reading anxiety was published on YouTube by the Northeast Ohio Research and Training Technology Hub. Part one can be found at https://goo.gl/SGpwCP.
Regarding changes in interactions with students over the course of his career, Zbornik thinks the demands of modern society and information thrown at children could be outpacing the capacity of the human brain, which contributes to feelings of anxiety and depression.
“Computerization has taken over everything we do,” he said. “Now everything is data-driven and we are slowly moving away from the clinical side. Less emphasis is being placed on the motive for things than is it on the actual behavior.
”Testing and the amount of information people are being asked to manage is also causing difficulties in the process. We have a limited memory capacity. We can only process so much. The amount of information children are being asked to ingest, and the amount of added data teachers have to compile — they just can’t keep up. Kids are crashing emotionally.”
Jonathan Delozier can be reached at 440-647-3171 or @DelozierNews on Twitter.