Mr. Bienko–teacher of physics, student of the physical


Rocco Mancilla

Mr. Bienko is enjoying his first year at Mt. Carmel.

Mr. Jason Bienko is in his first year at Mt. Carmel teaching math and physics. He grew up in Oak Lawn and Logan Square, attending Harnew Elementary School and Oak Lawn High School.
Throughout high school, Mr. Bienko was what he’d describe as a “big band geek.” He was in every band the school offered–symphony band, jazz band, and marching band. He primarily played trumpet as well as some tuba. “I started playing in fourth grade,” he says. “Music was kind of introduced to us at that grade level, and we had opportunities to test out certain instruments.”
After leaving high school Mr. Bienko wasn’t exactly certain of what he wanted to do. Eventually, he decided on going to culinary school. Following his graduation from that, he spent time in the restaurant industry. “I’ve done everything from busboy to dishwasher to general manager,” he continues. “I didn’t feel like there was a future in it for me after some time it’s a pretty rough industry to be a part of for the long term.”
Once Mr. Bienko left the restaurant industry and attended college at DePaul University. He picked up an actuarial science major and passed two out of the ten career exams in probability and financial mathematics. Then he started studying for a third, investment and financial markets. “I took a couple accounting classes and it just wasn’t grabbing me,” he says. “I had a friend who was an actuary at the time and she told me what she did and I found a lot of interest in it.”
Though occupied with his studies, this didn’t stop Mr. Bienko from being a crossfitter. He has been working out for fifteen years and has been a powerlifter for eight of those years. He is coached four days a week and spends his time in the gym mostly for two-and-a-half hours. “I’m very passionate about working out and like that health and fitness side of things,” he says. “ I’m just blessed that I do love it.”
Mr. Bienko does competitions, coaches powerlifting, and helps with the Special Olympics, where he has taken teams to state games. He’s also been on the news for hosting an annual fundraising event at his coach’s gym, Define Training on Broadway, and Sheridan. “My coach owns the gym I work out at he’s also my friend,” he says. “Because of that I kind of use his facility for the Special Olympics stuff.”
Not only is Mr. Bienko a crossfitter but a private contractor with a tutoring company. He has done tutoring for three or four years now. His boss, who is the owner of the company, knew he was interested in working in the classroom, and she guided him to Mt. Carmel. “When I first came in there were some students that were severely lacking or not showing any interest in mathematics,” he says. “Some of them are just getting great grades on every test now like B’s and A’s.”
Overall Mr. Bineko’s experience at Mt. Carmel is going well. He has had to make some adjustments coming in the middle of the year, but that hasn’t stopped him from pursuing his desire of becoming a teacher. “The staff is fantastic, all the other teachers and my Principal Scott [Tabernacki] has been nothing but great to me,” he says. “If you’re happy where you’re working, you’re gonna work better.”