May 15, 1968 – Oct. 30, 2014
Lisa M. Zolnowski, an English teacher at Williamsville South High School and past president of Shakespeare in Delaware Park, died Thursday in her Depew home after living with Parkinson’s disease for more than a decade. She was 46.
A lifelong resident of the Buffalo area, she earned a bachelor’s in secondary English education from SUNY Buffalo State and a master’s in library science from the University at Buffalo.
She taught at Cattaraugus and Olean high schools before taking a job at Williamsville South more than two decades ago.
It was Ms. Zolnowski’s passion for Shakespeare that left an impression on so many who met her. She trained at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London and served as vice president and president of the board of directors for Shakespeare in Delaware Park in Buffalo.
At Williamsville South, she advised a number of clubs and activities, including the Shakespeare Guild – which earned a reputation at the school for creating the “Shakespeare drive-by,” which involved student acting troupes traveling South’s halls on the playwright’s birthday, performing skits in classrooms.
Ms. Zolnowski, known to many as “Z,” also advised Wisp, the school’s literary magazine; pep club; Searchlight, the school’s yearbook; the drama club; Masterminds/Scholastic Bowl; and North S.T.A.R.S., a volunteer service organization.
She also served as a class adviser and assistant director of the musical.
Ms. Zolnowski loved teaching teenagers. Two years ago, she sent an email to her colleagues at South on the first day of school that said, in part: “You get the privilege of shepherding another group of students through this tricky period of adolescence. This year is what you make it. You are lucky. You have the best job in the world.”
She taught until this May.
Survivors include her parents, Dick and Lynda Zolnowski; a sister, Roni Sue Zolnowski; her brother and sister-in law, David and Jennifer Zolnowski; a niece, Laura Zolnowski, and nephew, Patrick Zolnowski; and her grandfather, Stan Pawlowski.
A celebration of life ceremony will be scheduled.