May 22, 2014 // Local

Mark Kirzeder appointed Marian High School principal

Mark Kirzeder

By Tim Johnson

MISHAWAKA — Mark Kirzeder has been appointed by Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades as the principal of Marian High School effective July 1. Kirzeder has been the assistant principal for academics of Marian High School since 2012 and a science and mathematics teacher at the Mishawaka high school since 2005.

Kirzeder’s appointment was announced at a school assembly on May 22.

“It is a great honor to be asked by Bishop Rhoades to be the next principal at Marian High School,” Kirzeder told Today’s Catholic. “I am profoundly thankful to the members of the Marian community for their support during this time of transition for our school. I’m also grateful for the support of my wife, Lesley, and my children, whose constant affirmation and vigilant prayer guided me throughout my discernment process. Finally, I am incredibly honored to be asked to follow in the footsteps of the esteemed principals that came before me, especially my predecessor, Carl Loesch. He has been an invaluable role model, mentor and treasured friend over the past decade, and I will strive to lead in his example.”

Bishop Rhoades announced in February that Carl Loesch, the current Marian High School principal, was appointed the Secretary of Catholic Education for the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend effective July 1. Loesch will oversee the Catholic Schools Office and the Office of Catechesis. In February, a search committee was formed to find a new principal for Marian High School.

Bishop Rhoades told Today’s Catholic, “I am very grateful that Mr. Mark Kirzeder accepted the position of principal of Marian High School. Mark’s commitment to Marian, its Catholic identity and mission and its strong academic program has impressed me very much. Mark’s deep Catholic faith, his professionalism and his love for Marian will help the school continue to grow and flourish.”

“I express my deep thanks also to the search committee, led by Msgr. Michael Heintz, for their help and their recommendation of Mr. Kirzeder,” Bishop Rhoades added. “And, of course, I thank Mr. Carl Loesch for his outstanding leadership and service as Marian’s principal and I look forward to his leadership of our diocesan Secretariat for Catholic Education.”

“We were most impressed by Mark’s deep commitment to Catholic education, his commitment to the students and his devotion to Marian,” said Msgr. Heintz, rector of St. Matthew Cathedral, director of the Master of Divinity Program at the University of Notre Dame and a Marian High School graduate.

Carl Loesch told Today’s Catholic, “Mark’s faith, intelligence and hard-work permeate everything he does. He is an excellent teacher and an outstanding administrator. Marian is blessed to have someone of Mark’s caliber to lead Marian spiritually and academically. We pray in gratitude for the Good Lord sending the right person to lead Marian.”

Kirzeder has a Bachelor of Science degree in science and math education from the University of Notre Dame, a Master of Education degree through the Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE) at the University of Notre Dame and a Master of Arts degree in educational leadership through the University of Notre Dame.

Kirzeder spoke of his goals for Marian, which can be summarized in a document released by the Congregation for Catholic Education entitled, “The Religious Dimension of Education in a Catholic School” — 1965.

The document reads: “The Catholic school finds its true justification in the mission of the Church; it is based on an educational philosophy in which faith, culture and life are brought into harmony.”

“It will be my focus, along with that of my faculty and staff, to find meaningful and innovative ways to continually incorporate the sacramental life of the Church, our rich faith tradition and Catholic culture into every aspect of education at Marian High School,” he said. “Doing so will prepare Marian students to be successful contributors to our community and our world, and, most importantly, will help them become future citizens of heaven.”

In his application for the position, Kirzeder commented on how he would embody Christ-center principles within the school: “As principal, I would strive to embody the humility and compassion that Jesus showed to all people by treating all students, parents, teachers and staff with respect and kindness. Christ teaches us to serve one another as He did when He washed His disciples’ feet and to carry on the message of the Gospel in the face of adversity and through our greatest challenges. It will be my task.”

To the Marian High School community, Kirzeder said, “Community is at the heart of the Church,” and it would be his duty “to unveil and nurture the community which God has created for us by providing opportunities for faith formation and encouraging participation in the sacramental life of the Church. The Eucharist will remain central to the life of the school.”

Kirzeder asked the community to “continue to keep Marian, our faculty and staff, as well as our students in your prayers as we undergo this transition in leadership.”

“I also ask the members of the community to pray in a special way for the intercession of Marian’s newly named patron saint, Our Lady of Lourdes, that we may form our students into good men and women of God,” he added.

The Kirzeders are members of St. Anthony de Padua Parish in South Bend.

A native of Crosby, Minn., Kirzeder has 12 years experience in Catholic education first as a physical science teacher and wrestling coach for three years at Holy Trinity Catholic Middle School in Charlotte, N.C., and then teaching and serving as assistant principal at Marian since 2005. He has also served as the head varsity wrestling coach at Marian.

Kirzeder participated in the Remmick Leadership Program and said it “served as a well-spring for my own growth as a Catholic educator and servant of the Church. The rigorous academic coursework coupled with the intentional focus on faith formation through prayer and celebration of the liturgy steeped participants in the sacramental life of the Church and prepared me for a practical and spiritual leadership role in a school community. My experience manifested in me a response to the call to serve as an administrator, revealing it, rather, as a call to ministry and the sacred responsibilities accompanying it.”

Kirzeder noted, “For me, and for so many who serve in Catholic schools, this is so much more than a job. Educating youth in the Catholic faith is a vocation, a ministry, in response to God’s call more so than a choice of our own making. I can undoubtedly say I am compelled to serve God and the Church in this role, for community is at the heart of the Church, and Christ is at the heart of our community at Marian.”

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