“School’s Out” for Dan Sanko

Back in his childhood, Dan Sanko had a busy home life. During his first year of middle school, he met his sixth-grade gym teacher Mr. Addison, who introduced him to intramural sports after school. This is what brought Sanko into sports in the first place. It became a space for him and a distraction from home. 

Sanko says, “My sixth grade PE teacher, Mr. Addison was my influence to become an educator. I never really had that father figure so he became kind of my father figure. He was such a good role model for me. I knew then that I would be an educator.”

Thanks to Mr. Addison, so many students have the opportunity to know Sanko. 

For Sanko, it all started in the year of 1988 when he started teaching at Providence Catholic. He left Providence Catholic in 1992 to then teach at Lake Zurich High School until 1993 when he came to Lisle High School. For the last 30 years, Sanko has taught hundreds of Lisle Lions.

Another role Sanko took on was coaching. Throughout his whole career of teaching, he was also coaching football and wrestling. “Thirty years for both it has its highs and lows. I was a head coach of football, it was a good eighteen years.” 

Junior Abby Gavigan has worked with Sanko as a student and athlete. When asking her how Sanko’s retirement made her feel she said, “His retirement makes me upset. I have known Sanko since my sophomore year. I met him on the football field, and that was a rough time for me. Having met him there and growing a bond I will have forever is something I’ll hold close.”  

He is like Mr. Addison to so many students. 

Sanko has taught Health and PE at Lisle. He’s educated so many students about health safety. Many students go to Sanko for advice on family issues; he provides the perspective a lot of students need. 

Reflecting on his years as an educator, Sanko says he will miss the students more than anything. 

“They make me laugh and turn my mood around and it’s always been like that. They tend to keep you young,” Sanko said. “One of my biggest fears, when I wake up, is not going to have one of those kids to talk to during the day.”

After 30 years of waking up and greeting Lisle students, Sanko’s mornings will change a lot. Not just his mornings, but all of the students at Lisle High School as well.