When I think of New Market school, the name is synonymous with a man, the principal of over three decades, Jim Zielinski.

Jim loves kids so working with them daily was a perfect forte. Wife Jan was his number one sub at New Market and did various duties to help make his job easier such as hosting the Christmas party for the teachers.

An interesting part of the Z's life is that three of their four children are also involved in education, Kathy teaching fourth grade at IPS; Carol preschool in Warren Central and youngest daughter, Cheryl, is a speech pathologist. His son, Richard, is a compliance officer for American Funds. Their oldest grandson is a teacher and coach, as well, thus the tradition continues on.

Jim grew-up on a farm in St. Joseph County and learned his strong work ethics from bailing hay and toiling on the family property.

In high school he played basketball, football and was active in track. New Carlisle High School didn't win too many big championships but Jim was proud to have been on their two county title teams.

Joining the Army Reserves while a junior in high school, he continued on in the reserves while attending Ball State Teachers' College, where he was a member of the Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity and played football. After graduating with a PE Major and Industrial Arts, he taught and was an assistant coach at Peru High School, then returned to Ball State (this time BS University) where he received his masters and administrative license.

He taught for a couple of years at Greenfield High School, then in the fall of 1968, came to the Southmont area.

Jan, from Dearborn County, met Jim while they were Ball State students. Jim and Jan recently celebrated their 50th anniversary (married Dec. 29, 1962) with a special mass (complete with the whole family present) at St. Bernard's Catholic Church where Jim has been an usher and on the Parish Council and where they are both involved in the senior group.

Both were quite active in their children's activities at Southmont, which included baseball, basketball, volleyball, and much more. Now, both are enjoying the next-generation activities with grandchildren.

Jim's hobbies include playing golf with close friends in the Senior League at the municipal course, wood working and he especially loves being outside sprucing up his yard. Jim and Janet Zielinski are enjoying their retirement and since I admire them both so much, I'm extremely happy that I chose Jim, who many call Mr. Z, for this week's "Around the County!"

Karen Zach's column, Around The County, appears each Thursday in The Paper of Montgomery County.