Joseph Maruszczak has been principal of Mansfield High School for only three years, but has made a lasting impression on the school and those he worked with.
Maruszczak grew up in the town of Agawam in Western Massachusetts. He later went to Providence College and was at first a pre med student with a major in chemistry, but subsequently dropped out of the premed program. With his chemistry major completed, he started taking education classes and got his teacher certification.
From there he became a teacher at Ponaganset High School in Foster-Glocester Rhode Island, where he started a teaching career that would span more than two decades.
"He brought a lot of experience to the High School," said Superintendent of Schools Brenda Hodges. "He's certainly been instrumental in working with the High School, which has grown during the time that he's been here. That's always a challenge in a growing district."
He said that one of the accomplishments he was most proud of during his tenure at MHS was the Senior Option. This encompassed four separate programs that allowed seniors to get more hands-on experience before they went to college, such as internships, research projects, online classes and duel enrollment programs at local colleges.
Maruszczak said this was extremely difficult to do, because of the financial climate during his tenure. In his three-year tenure, he said the school had gained about 80 students, and lost 14 teachers.
"As a response, we've changed the schedule to really ameliorate the effects of teacher losses," he said. "I'm also proud of the fact that despite those challenges, we've come up with programming, such as our senior option program, to give students more pragmatic, hands-on learning that will ensure they are college and career ready."
Maruszczak will be moving on to the Upton Mendon School system as a superintendent. He said he is really excited to work in the district, and that even though he is facing a learning curve; he has been enjoying the transition process immensely.
"In many ways it's bittersweet," he said. "I'm excited to achieve a career goal, but I'm also very saddened because I'm going to miss people in Mansfield very much."
Maruszczak said that he has always had a passion for learning and education.
"School was always something that I enjoyed, and it was something that I did very well," he said.
He said that in different key moments in his life, mainly during high school, he had teachers that made a huge difference to him, as they were extremely invested in his growth.
"That kind of sparked the interest," he said.