Pictured are Dr. Joseph Brettnacher and David Maugel. Photo Provided.
Pictured are Dr. Joseph Brettnacher and David Maugel. Photo Provided.
FORT WAYNE - Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend has appointed Associate Superintendent of Catholic Schools David Maugel as the new superintendent of Catholic schools for the diocese.

Maugel will take over the top leadership role in the Catholic schools office from Dr. Joseph Brettnacher on July 1, according to a news release from the diocese.

Brettnacher announced his retirement on Monday.

In a letter to teachers and administrators, Brettnacher expressed gratitude to Rhoades for the opportunity to lead and to grow in his roles within the vocation of Catholic education. He said there are many priests, administrators and educators within the diocese who have “worked to deepen students' relationship with Jesus Christ within His mystical body, the Church, to form disciples of Christ, and to help them to fulfill their destinies to become saints and to reach heaven, the ultimate goal of Catholic education. All have helped me deepen my Catholic faith.”

Maugel has been the associate superintendent of Catholic schools since 2021. He is a former math teacher and served as the principal at NorthWood High School in Nappanee for 16 years. During that time, he was also an Indiana Principal Leadership Institute mentor, helping principals develop their own leadership capabilities and resources.

He served on the Indiana Association of School Principals Board of Directors for six years, sharing the voice of principals in District 2 of the state of Indiana, and has been doing the same for schools within the Indiana State School Music Association since 2018. He is a graduate of IPFW, Goshen College and the Indiana Principal Leadership Academy.

Maugel’s tenure in education, including his nearly two years with the diocese, has been characterized by strong leadership and extensive experience in professional collaboration, which he foresees forming part of his mandate as superintendent, the release states.

“Education in general is a challenging environment right now, with teacher shortages and administrative shortages,” he said. “That exists in every aspect of education across our country. I think the challenge (for local diocesan schools) is going to be continuing our pursuit of Catholic leaders who feel called to be in these positions of teaching and leading, and who understand that the struggles are going to be there. As Catholics we’re called to live that life of struggle but find joy within that struggle, in our consent to the Lord.”

Maugel is excited about a new format being experienced with the first cohort of the Aspiring Catholic Leaders program that has yielded abundant fruit in the area of collaboration, lending both positive support and fraternal correction to current educators and principals versus expecting them to experience growth and development in isolation, according to the release.

His vision for “building on the great things that Dr. Joe Brettnacher, Jeff Kieffer and principals have accomplished throughout the last four years” consists of:

• Continuing to develop growth through the alignment of Strategic and School Improvement Plans with professional development approaches to ensure the mission of creating saints through the ministry of education.  

• Increasing the use of cohort systems to create communal opportunities to learn from one another as well as experts in Catholic identity and academic excellence.  

• Seeking to assist principals with developing knowledge, skills and implementing systems that will meet the needs of every child in the care of Catholic schools in the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend.  

Maugel resides with his wife, Dawn, in Wakarusa. They have three grown sons. At the couple’s parish, St. John the Evangelist in Goshen, he formed part of the Next Generation Parish Envisioning Team that clarified the parish purpose, vision, values and the top three pastoral priorities and related goals as well as researched the allocation of resources to support the plan. He remains a member of the parish’s Rekindle the Fire Men’s Group and a parish Eucharistic Minister.

Maugel will continue to work hand-in-hand with Associate Superintendent and former principal Jeff Kieffer, to whom he is already grateful for many insights that facilitated his transition from public to Catholic school leadership. Maugel added that he will also carry with him Brettnacher’s demonstration of humble leadership, something for which he feels particularly blessed.

“He’s been a great mentor for me. It has really allowed me to connect my faith with my career and make this a vocation, and it has been really exciting.”