Judy Perkowski is retiring as principal of Saint John the Baptist school after twenty-nine years of leadership. She came to the school in 1987 when the campus was not yet complete; Judy became its founding principal. Next year, Saint John the Baptist will celebrate thirty years as a school community, and its success and strong foundation owes a great deal to Judy’s guidance over that time.
Judy Perkowski’s whole life experience prepared her for the role that she has played as the founder of a Catholic school community. Born in Long Island, New York, Judy comes from a close-knit family. So close in fact, that her two sisters and her parents moved from Long Island to California not long after Judy did. One of the most common descriptions that students, parents, and staff have used for the school through the years is, “It’s a family.”
During her years as principal, Judy has always demonstrated a very strong belief in the importance of faith community. She spent her late teens and part of her twenties as a member of the religious community of the Adrian Dominican Sisters of Amityville, New York. Not only did she really learn the importance of faith community from this time in her life, but she also gained strength and trust in the Holy Spirit. Many times over her years as principal, she has faced difficult decisions, challenges, and moments of tragedy that affected families, particular classes, and even the entire community. By drawing on the faith nurtured by her family and strengthened by her years as a religious sister, Judy has always been able not only to get through those times personally but to guide the school community as a whole.
Judy has always demonstrated a deep love of education. She spent years as a primary grades teacher before becoming a principal, and she has always maintained her love for her students. She has always said that during the most challenging times as a principal, one of the most life-giving things she can do is to walk through the classrooms and to spend time among the students. Over the years, the lives of hundreds of students – as well as those of their parents – have been made better because of Judy Perkowski’s care, strong leadership, and dedication to Catholic education.