Photo by Andrew Brown ’18 | Mr. Elinski, the new Director of Innovative Technologies, helps out students in the innovation commons.
By Juan Carlos Ramirez ’18
When it comes to Arizona climate, new Director of Innovation Technologies Mr. Kevin Elinski said has been used to it since the 60s when he would travel and visit his grandmother in Mesa.
Mr. Elinski grew up in Chicago and lived in Wisconsin for 20 years before he moved to Wickenburg, Ariz. in 2007.
He taught at Wickenburg High School and founded an engineering program, but being a high school teacher was never in his plans.
“My wife passed away in 2004,” Mr. Elinski said. “I had an eight-year-old daughter, and my job required a lot of travel. So I asked myself what could I do. I helped her in school and made sure that her transition was smooth. In a field trip, I remember a teacher saying that these kids are awful. At that moment, it clicked in my mind that I could deal with these kids. It was a point in my life that I realized that I really enjoy being around kids. The educational part of the school is something I have never done before.”
Mr. Elinski said he actually built his straw bale house in Wickenburg with some High school students from Wickenburg High School.
Mr. Elinski said he still lives in Wickenburg, but he is trying to sell his house so can move closer to the city.
Mr. Elinski’s family and history is very unique and peculiar in its respect.
He said his mother came over after World War II as a Polish refugee.
“The Soviet Army came in and took my grandpa and uncle,” Mr. Elinski said. “They said they would take my mom and grandmother to Siberia. My grandma followed the train tracks, found them, and they took my mother and grandmother to Siberia to cut trees for three years … The British Army then said if the Soviet’s wanted their help, they needed to free the Polish. So the Soviets did, but they couldn’t go back home because Poland was under the Germans. So somehow they went from Siberia to Baghdad, Iraq and then Baghdad to Mexico. They stayed in Mexico for three years in refugee camps until they could find a sponsor to get into the United States.”
As the new director of innovative technologies, Mr Elinski said he wants to show kids that they can do it.
He said that his job is to show students they can build anything if they really apply themselves.
Assistant Principle of Technology Mr. Mica Mulloy ’99 said that position of director of innovative technologies was created to manage and oversee what happens in the innovative commons.
“He knows how to do everything that is in the innovative technologies,” Mr. Mulloy said. “But it’s not just knowledge of the tools that makes him perfect. What also helps is that he has a vision to help students learn how to use those things … so they can take all those things and use them to creatively solve problem like they never have before.”
Mr. Mulloy also said that the overall hope is that the students can take advantage of the incredible resources provided to them, and they can determine where they want to go and do with this.
Wyatt Ashton ’20 is a student in Mr. Elinski’s Introduction to Innovative Technologies class and he said he feels more encouraged as the class progresses.
“As I progress in the class, I feel that I can be more involved because I have more ideas,” Ashton said. “He’s flexible with your projects. If you do something out of the project, it is very well accepted.”
Ashton also said that he never imagined the possibility of doing these type of projects as a freshman at Brophy. These projects vary from working with a 3D printer to working with programming software.
Mr. Elinski said he is very pleased being in this community and feels very accepted.