By Tim Johnson
FORT WAYNE — Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades has announced a reorganization of diocesan offices and has appointed Carl Loesch, current principal of Marian High School in Mishawaka, as the Secretary for Catholic Education, and Marsha Jordan, who has served as the associate superintendent and the interim superintendent of Catholic Schools, as the new Superintendent.
In making the appointments, Bishop Rhoades said, “I am very happy and grateful that Mr. Carl Loesch has accepted my appointment to serve as Secretary for Catholic Education of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend. Carl has much education and experience in school administration, teaching and theology. He has been an excellent principal at Marian High School. I am looking forward to his leadership now on a broader scale, serving the important mission of catechesis and education throughout our diocese. He will assist me in my ministry of teaching the faith and will serve on the Bishop’s Cabinet. I am really looking forward to our work together.”
Bishop Rhoades added, “I am also very grateful to Mrs. Marsha Jordan for accepting my appointment to serve as Superintendent of Schools. Marsha’s education and experience and her strong commitment to the mission of our Catholic schools have been a blessing to our diocese. I also look forward to working closely with Marsha in ensuring the excellence of our Catholic schools.”
The diocese is forming a search committee for a new principal of Marian High School. Loesch’s appointment as Secretary for Catholic Education begins July 1.
Loesch is a highly trained administrator and award-winning teacher with 20 years experience in Catholic secondary and post-secondary schools. He has earned masters degrees in educational administration and theology, and a master of science in education from the University of Notre Dame. He also has a bachelor’s degree in theology from Notre Dame.
He has been the principal of Marian High School since July 2004. He also teaches math at Marian. For three years, he directed the University of Notre Dame’s Appalachia Seminar and Educational Immersions and was the activity director of the National Youth Sports Program. From 1991 to 2000, Loesch taught theology at Bishop Dwenger High School and was the Theology Department Chair, service coordinator and head wrestling coach. While at Bishop Dwenger, he started the first high school Habitat for Humanity chapter in the state of Indiana, the 13th chapter in the nation.
Loesch told Today’s Catholic, “I am deeply grateful to Bishop Rhoades for this opportunity to serve the Church. As we near the anniversary of Bishop D’Arcy’s death (Feb. 3), I recall very clearly his love for our Catholic schools. I pray that I may carry that same love with me into this work.”
“I am also grateful for the guidance and support of my pastor, Msgr. Michael Heintz, and my mentors, Father Ron Nuzzi, Dr. Tom Doyle, John Gaughan and Fred Tone,” Loesch continued. “Last and certainly not least, I am grateful for and inspired by the dedicated faculty and staff of Marian High School. Like so many of our schools, Marian is truly blessed with faculty and staff who live their vocation every day to pass on the faith to our students.”
Loesch recounted his family’s deep connections to the Catholic faith and the diocese.
“My grandmother, Marie Loesch, graduated from St. Aloysius in Yoder,” Loesch said. “My father and aunt graduated from St. Aloysius and Central Catholic. My father taught with the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration at St. Francis College. I have been blessed to work with the dedicated faculties and staffs of Marian and Bishop Dwenger.”
“This diocese has blessed my family for generations,” he added. “I look forward with great joy to working with Bishop Rhoades, the Catholic Schools Office and the Office of Catechesis to educate the precious young people in our Catholic schools and the people of all ages in our parishes so that together we may draw closer to Our Lord and His Church.”
He asked that all the people of the diocese “pray daily for the schools and parishes of our diocese.”
“May the Lord continue to bless us with priests, brothers, sisters and lay people to guide us and our families as we grow in our knowledge, love and service of Our Lord,” he said.
In announcing his appointment to the Marian community, he said, “It has been my joy to celebrate our successes together and my consolation to walk with you during difficult times. I pray that you will continue to look kindly upon my family as it is my wife’s and my desire to have our children blessed to be educated at Marian. I will continue to work hard throughout this semester to accomplish the many important tasks before us.”
Loesch and his family — wife Marie and four sons — will remain in South Bend where they attend St. Matthew Cathedral Parish. His oldest son will be a freshman at Marian next fall.
As associate superintendent for three-and-a-half years and the recent interim superintendent, Jordan finds a level of peace in accepting the role of superintendent.
“I thank Bishop Rhoades for his confidence in my abilities to assume the role of superintendent of Catholic Schools,” Jordan told Today’s Catholic.
“I have always believed that the Holy Spirit works in mysterious ways, and that He always places us where we need to be for a purpose,” she noted. “I have also learned to be open to that call and to allow the Holy Spirit to work in my life.”
“When Bishop Rhoades first asked me to accept the position of superintendent,” Jordan said, “I accepted without hesitation, and with a sense of peace. I really believe that the Holy Spirit was leading me.”
“I know that I have the support of many colleagues, and a wide variety of experiences to guide me as I begin a new chapter in my educational career,” she added. “I also know that I can rely on prayer and on the guidance of the Holy Spirit.”
Jordan is no stranger to diocesan work. Even as a college student at Indiana University, she worked as a cleaning lady at the Fort Wayne chancery in the summer months.
After graduating from Indiana University with a bachelor’s degree in biology, Jordan was a biology teacher and dorm mother at Wawasee Preparatory from 1973 to 1975.
Jordan also holds masters degrees in education in biology, counseling and guidance.
At St. Vincent de Paul School in Fort Wayne, she taught religion, Latin and junior-high science for nine years.
In 1984, Jordan became the dean of girls at Bishop Dwenger High School and taught biology part-time. Eventually, Principal John Gaughan decided to move Jordan out of the dean’s office and make her the science department chair.
But in 1994, Jordan became a stay-at-home mom to raise her daughter, Emily, who is now a freshman at Indiana University-Purdue University at Fort Wayne. Jordan used the six years as a stay-at-home mom to finish up coursework for her administrative license. In 2000, Jordan became the principal of Queen of Angels, the school of her childhood and the church where she and her late husband, Denver, a Fort Wayne attorney who died just last summer from esophageal cancer, were parishioners.
Jordan’s parents built a home across the street from the “new” Queen of Angels Parish in 1952, she said, and lived there until their deaths. “I am one of the eight ‘Shaffer’ sisters, all of whom are Queen of Angels graduates,” she said. Jordan is also a 1969 graduate of Central Catholic High School in Fort Wayne.
In July 2010, she was appointed the associate superintendent of Catholic Schools and earlier this year was named the interim superintendent.
“I have always valued my experience as a Catholic educator,” Jordan said, “because it provides the opportunity to teach the whole child — body, mind, heart and soul.”
“As a teacher, I had the opportunity to model my faith and infuse Catholic identity into everything I taught,” she said. “As an administrator, I was again presented with the same opportunity, leading not only students, but teachers and parents.”
She likes the quote from Winston Churchill who once said, “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”
“I have always viewed my role as a teacher or administrator as that of a servant leader, and I am humbled to have the privilege of serving the students, teachers and parents of our diocesan schools,” Jordan said. “I am quite certain that I will gain much more than I give.”
She said she looks forward to visiting the diocesan schools’ principals and teachers in their school buildings.
“Our diocese is blessed with outstanding Catholic schools, talented and dedicated teachers and administrators, and thousands of students and parents who love and embrace our Catholic mission,” she said.
“My vision is that we continue this great tradition by continuing to attract great leaders for our schools, leaders who are focused on their professionalism, creative in their thinking, and above all, fully committed to integrating our Catholic faith into every aspect of school life,” Jordan added.
She said it is imperative that “we continue to attract teachers who are on fire, not only with a love of teaching children, but also a love for their calling as Catholic school educators who can transform their classrooms and students with their faith, passion and competence.”
Jordan said as the schools of the diocese grow in size and diversity, “It is my vision that our parents continue to understand and appreciate the mission of Catholic education and their partnership with our schools in raising our children in the way of holiness.”
She said, “I am confident that our students will continue to be nurtured in the knowledge and love of their Catholic faith, and that they will not only practice their faith, but understand and accept their role as missionaries of the faith as they move into adulthood.”
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