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Principal of St. Isaac Jogues Catholic School in Hinsdale wins prestigious Bishop Kaffer Award from Lewis University

Carol Burlinski, principal of St. Isaac Jogues Catholic School in Hinsdale, has been named the 2022 recipient of the Bishop Roger L. Kaffer Outstanding Principal Award from Lewis University.

Granted by Lewis University’s Institute for the Advancement of Catholic and Lasallian Education, the annual award recognizes a Catholic school principal in the Diocese of Joliet for visionary leadership based on a nomination from his/her pastor and recommendations from peers. The award celebrates the legacy of Bishop Kaffer, who served as rector of the former St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Romeoville for five years, and principal of what is now known as Providence Catholic High School in New Lenox for 15 years. He also served as an auxiliary bishop of the Diocese of Joliet from 1985 until his death in 2002.

Michael Boyle, Ph.D., who serves as superintendent of Catholic schools of the Diocese of Joliet, praised Burlinski for her dedication and experienced professionalism.

“Carol is a dynamic advocate for Catholic education,” Boyle said.

Several nominators commended Burlinski’s commitment to strengthening Catholic identity at the school, noting she has added several devotions – Eucharistic adoration, the rosary and Stations of the Cross – to complement weekly Mass and confession. 

“She does a phenomenal job of making sure that Jesus, our Catholic faith, and our Catholic values are at the forefront of the priorities,” said Rev. Burke Masters, pastor of St. Isaac Jogues Catholic Church and School. 

Parents and fellow educators applauded Burlinski’s dedication to increasing academic opportunity for her students, pointing to the expansion of foreign languages offered to include Spanish, French and Latin; the implementation of a STEM curriculum across all grades; and access to a speech therapist and occupational therapist to serve the needs of all students.

“She has made it a goal for the school to acquire the most up-to-date instructional materials, and that the curriculum taught to students at every grade level is guaranteed and viable,” said Donielle Jarzen, vice principal and eighth-grade social studies teacher. 

Burlinski was surprised with the award on Fri., Oct. 14, when a Mass was celebrated in her honor at St. Isaac Jogues Catholic Church in Hinsdale.

Burlinski previously served as principal and associate principal of curriculum and instruction at Buffalo Grove High School in Buffalo Grove; division chair of social studies/world languages/English language learner and history teacher at John Hershey High School in Arlington Heights; supervisor of the cooperative teacher education program at the University of Illinois and District 214 in Buffalo Grove; and as a junior high social studies teacher at St. Juliana School in Chicago. She earned a master’s degree from Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago and a bachelor’s degree from Northern Illinois University in DeKalb