Lasting impact: 2018 Retirees – Phil Carello


Photo courtesy of Phil Carello

REMEMBERING THE RETIREES: Standing on one hand, Phil Carello demonstrates his experience in gymnastics (above), as he helped coach the men’s gymnastics team for 16 years until 2005, and is now retiring after 21 years as a staff member.

Eliza Schloss, co-editor-in-chief

Instructional assistant Phil Carello had not missed a day of work since 1997, when he first began work in the Glenbrook School District. His first day off from school came a few years ago when he underwent double-knee surgery and even then he returned early, says Mary Jaeger, Carello’s co-worker and retired special education teacher.

Carello will retire at the end of this current school year after 21 years as a full-time employee for the Glenbrook School District and 18 years at Glenbrook South. Throughout his years at South and as an instructional assistant, Carello says he has continued to learn as he is present in many different classes, providing one-on-one aid to students.

“I learn different things about cooking [in foods], different things about [woodworking] in [woods] class and in autos, different things from Mr. Klimkowski [that I didn’t know before],” Carello said.

Carello’s eagerness and positivity are attributes brought to all his endeavors both in and out of the classroom environment, says Jaeger. Carello, a 1969 South alum, participated in gymnastics as a student and later rejoined the South community in the 1980s to coach gymnastics for 16 years before taking a full-time position. In this coaching position, Carello implemented the same support his high school coach showed him.

“My high school coach, Tony Calabrese who was a physical education teacher here, had great motivation for all his gymnasts and that carried on,” Carello said. “He would strive for you to do your best. If you didn’t get a good score, [he said] don’t worry about the scores.”

Jaeger recalls one moment where a kind act of Carello’s reached outside school and showed his character.

“Several years back, there were some students here at school who were not your typical Glenbrook students, they were really in dire need,” Jaeger said. “They started showing up [to school] looking a little bit better, they weren’t so hungry. Here, behind the scenes, we found out that it was Mr. Carello and another teacher who were helping this family out outside of the walls of GBS.”

This spirit is what initially got him hired in 2000, says Brian Baxter, current special education teacher and former instructional supervisor of the Special Education Department who hired Carello.

“His genuineness and overall affect [is why I hired him],” Baxter said. “He is able to relate to people through relationships and that certainly came out when I first met him. He is an incredibly dedicated person and cares deeply about the Glenbrooks and, ultimately, the kids.”

Carello’s personality isn’t unnoticed by students who he has worked with. Jaeger says she has noticed an annual pattern in the students Carello works with as his spirit becomes infectious.

“He has a little group of kids that wait with him [in the morning at the bus],” Jaeger said. “If he doesn’t open the door for you, one of the kids will open the door for you. He just has a positive influence. […] By the end of the year he’s always like the Pied Piper. He has a little tribe of kids that always follow him around all over the school.”

According to Baxter and Carol Buresh, Carello’s co-worker and retired special education teacher, Carello has unique, comical sayings such as “no need” and “na na” that have become a trademark of his and are representative of who he is. Recently, Baxter says he was walking to lunch where he ran into Carello who said, “It’s lunchy, lunchy.” Baxter immediately felt happier.

“We are having a special celebration of his contributions and his commitments to Glenbrook South,” Baxter said. “Everyone [will be] wearing a t-shirt with some of the sayings he has and those are comical [which] the kids pick up on too.”

Jamie Bachmann, Carello’s co-worker and special education teacher, believes there is reason behind Carello’s catchphrases.

“That’s the way he’s able to hook certain students that have a real hard time connecting with anybody,” Bachmann said. “[His catchphrases are] so repetitive in nature so [students] are able to pick up on it, mimic it and connect with him. Then, [students] end up developing their own personalities after they are able to connect with his.”

Carello’s routine optimism and energy is what Buresh says she will miss most about not having Carello around.

“It’s 6:30 in the morning and [Carello] is making jokes,” Buresh said. “Then we do the pledge of allegiance and you can hear his voice booming in the whole classroom. He’s just full of energy and that translates to everything he does.”