Meet Colonel Don
Colonel Don Potoczny (USA Retired) was born in Chicago and raised in the western suburbs. He has served with distinction in demanding leadership roles ever since he enlisted in the army at the age of eighteen. Since 9/11 he served mostly in dangerous places overseas and volunteered for three combat tours in Iraq.
Don is currently an administrator in a Chicago public high school. He serves as the Commandant for Patton Leadership Academy at Farragut Career Academy IB World School. Located in one of the most disadvantaged areas of the city, Don’s program teaches civics, leadership, communication, and other life skills to children most in need.
Don Potoczny serves as the Commandant of the Patton Leadership Academy after a distinguished military career. Don has quickly become a leader in several community organizations. He serves as the President of the DuPage Symphony Orchestra and a board director for Operation Support our Troops. He is an active member of several veterans organizations, currently serving on the Board of Trustees of the American Legion.
In his twenty-seven years of active duty, Colonel Potoczny developed a reputation as one of the most innovative trainers in the U.S. Army. He has built diverse teams all over the world to solve some of our allies’ most difficult problems.
Don managed the development of a “resiliency campus” on Fort Carson, Colorado. This project coordinated the construction of a world-class gymnasium, mental health clinic, child care facility, and civilian personnel wellness center at a cost of $34 million. It provided the community with a holistic approach to wellness.
Don deployed to Baghdad, Iraq in the last year of the US occupation. Don developed a team of officers from every service – US Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, and Customs, and Border Patrol. This “ISF Team” maintained assessments of every Iraqi security organization. They developed training strategies based on those detailed assessments. Don and his ISF Team clearly had an enormous impact on Iraq and its future as an independent nation. Their methodical approach to developing training strategies ensured the readiness of our ally, reduced the need to increase US involvement, and save countless lives.
Don served in the Republic of Korea for ten years culminating in his selection to command the Army’s rocket artillery battalion just thirteen miles from North Korea. His highly effective training programs addressed his two priorities – unit readiness and leader development. To address readiness, he developed a system of alerts that ensured every subunit was ready to deploy with no notice.
Don served his last two years of duty as an exchange officer with the Canadian Armed Forces. He served with the Canadian Joint Operations Command which oversees all activities of the Canadian Armed Forces.
In Ottawa, Don created a team to address Canada’s most complex and pressing challenge – the information domain. Numerous government activities endeavored to address developing threats and build capabilities. Don created the Joint Operational Effects (JOE) Team to synchronize many of these efforts. The JOE Team integrated public affairs into operation, coordinated senior leader engagements around the world, and operationalized a host of capabilities.
Don also identified challenges for staff coordination across the headquarters. The functionally-aligned staff had developed impenetrable silos with officers assigned regional responsibilities. Don recognized a transformative opportunity to increase collaboration. He developed Regional Working Groups to connect desk officers across the functional staff. He led these working groups to share perspectives and they reached a level of teamwork they never imagined possible.
Don holds a BA in Philosophy from Western Illinois University; an MS in Education from Kansas State University; and a Master of Strategic Studies from the U.S. Army War College.
Don is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) and Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR).
- Commandant, Patton Leadership Academy - Chicago, Illinois
- Chief of Staff for Joint Operational Effects – Ottawa, Ontario
- Director of Personnel – Fort Knox, Kentucky
- Commander, 1st Battalion, 38th Field Artillery – Camp Casey, Korea
- Chief, Current Operations, 8th US Army – Seoul, Korea
- Project Manager – Fort Carson, Colorado
- Deputy Chief, Iraqi Security Force – Baghdad, Iraq
On Tuesday, November 8, 2022 vote for Don Potoczny for County Treasurer
“Don Potoczny is retired from the United States Army. Use of his military rank, job titles, and photographs in uniform does not imply endorsement by the Department of the Army or the Department of Defense.”