Schools superintendent lauded as he caps 48-year career

MERRILLVILLE – Dr. Joseph Majchrowicz was praised for his “enthusiasm, experience and leadership” by Bishop Robert J. McClory as he prepares to cap off almost five decades as an educator by retiring after seven years as superintendent of schools for the Diocese of Gary.
“He’s been a ‘glass is half full, not half empty’ kind of leader, and I want to thank him, especially for his leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic when he very quickly showed himself (to be) a loyal, steady hand,” said the bishop at the diocese’s annual Teacher Retirement and Recognition Banquet on May 3 at Innsbrook Country Club. “He stayed on top of things and allowed us to thrive, not just survive.
“His leadership was very helpful and gave us the ability to do what we did,” added Bishop McClory, referring to the way diocesan schools responded to the challenges of the pandemic.
For his part, Dr. Majchrowicz preferred to focus on the five teacher retirees and nine educators recognized at the banquet for reaching milestone anniversaries with the diocese. “Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your journey these past seven years,” he said.
Reflecting in an interview about his own journey – which began when he became a physical education teacher at St. Dominic School in Bolingbrook, Ill. at 19 – Dr. Majchrowicz said his favorite memories involve “the people, the fond memories of all the wonderful people I’ve worked with in the schools. I am also very proud that my daughter wanted to be a teacher and is working for us (at St. Casimir School in Hammond).”
Most satisfying about his stint at the diocese after four decades as a teacher, principal and superintendent in several Illinois school districts, added the 1973 Bishop Noll Institute alumnus, “Is that we didn’t have a strategic plan when I arrived, and now we have a vision, now we have a cohesive marketing plan.”
Also satisfying, he repeated, “are the relationships I’ve found as a person and that I will leave with. It’s my feeling that together, we’ve created a better environment than the one I inherited because we’ve worked strongly together.”
Most challenging, Dr. Majchrowicz said, was developing a cohesive vision for the diocesan schools. “I felt we had the potential and was very impressed by the leadership and the people we had on board, but felt we lacked organization and vision,” he said. “I was trying to bring 20 schools together to function as one; it’s an evolution, but I feel we have more cohesion now.
“There wasn’t one data platform for our schools, but now we have FACTS Management, which took a year to develop,” noted the St. John the Evangelist in St. John parishioner who resides in Schererville with his wife, Carole, a nurse. 
He volunteered that his “biggest disappointment” was the inability “to fully develop a vision for Andrean High School. There are plausible options …  but I’m not sure which will come to fruition,” he said.
Dr. Majchrowicz revealed that shortly before Bishop Donald Hying (Bishop McClory’s predecessor) left Gary in 2021 for the Diocese of Madison, he asked the superintendent, ‘How much more time do I have you for?’ and I blurted out, ‘Three years,’ which turned out to be right on target.
“You get to a point where you know it’s time (to retire), and I feel my time here is complete,” said Dr. Majchrowicz, who will be succeeded on July 1 by Colleen J. Brewer, a high school principal from the Archdiocese of Chicago. “My journey is not complete, but it is time to let new, fresh ideas be nurtured in the Diocese of Gary.”