In her 41 years of education, Connie Krocak said Holy Cross is probably the most rewarding place she’s ever worked.

Krocak has served as principal of the preschool through eighth grade Catholic school for the past six years, but this year will be her last. On Ash Wednesday, she told the Holy Cross community of her plans to retire.

“Please know that I did not come to this decision lightly, and the decision has nothing to do with the COVID-19 pandemic and its effect on education,” Krocak included in her letter to the Holy Cross community. “I have been in conversation about this with Fr. Barnes since December 2019 and with Fr. VanDenBroeke since January 2020. Last February I decided to stay through the 2021 school year to be sure that the school’s accreditation process was successful and complete.”

The accreditation process took almost a full year, Krocak said. Holy Cross completed a self-study of all its components, including safety, maintenance, policies and board makeup, and compiled all this data into a profile of population trends. The Minnesota Nonpublic School Accrediting Association then reviewed the profile and sent a team to the school to interview teachers and parents and see how well their feedback matched with the self-study. According to the report, Holy Cross passed in 64 out of 64 items, making the school compliant until 2028.

Fr. Nick VanDenBroeke, canonical administrator of Holy Cross and pastor of Immaculate Conception Church in Lonsdale, recognized in an email to the Holy Cross community the ways Krocak made the school what it is today.

“I am deeply grateful for the tremendous service that Dr. Constance Krocak has given Holy Cross over these past six years,” VanDenBroeke said. “It is a great loss to our community to receive her resignation at the end of this school year. We wish her the very best in retirement.”

Holy Cross’ Catholic identity was raised under Krocak’s leadership, he said, with added faith practices woven into the school’s curriculum. He also noted that Holy Cross students have tested above the national average in every subject area under Krocak’s leadership, and the school’s atmosphere “has been fostered to be a place of joy” throughout the different grade levels.

Apart from her first year of teaching in a public school, Krocak has spent her entire education career in Catholic schools in Minnesota. She has taught a variety of grade levels for 32 years, including preschool, middle school,and family and consumer science for grades five through 12. Before becoming the successor to former Holy Cross Principal Lisa Simon in 2015, Krocak took her first principalship at Our Lady of the Lake in Mound. She also taught at Providence Academy in Plymouth for a number of years.

The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis has posted the job opening, and Holy Cross leaders will next meet with the Office for the Mission of Catholic Education. Krocak’s retirement is effective sometime in the summer, depending on the hiring of a her successor.

While Krocak said she has no plans for retirement so far, she plans to spend time at her home in Minnetrista.

“I’m very glad,” Krocak said. “My favorite place to be next to school is at home, and with this time of COVID, that’s where we need to be.”

Reporter Misty Schwab can be reached at 507-333-3135. Follow her on Twitter @APGmisty. ©Copyright 2021 APG Media of Southern Minnesota. All rights reserved.

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