Piersanti will be installed at Ellicott City Church on Dec. 15.
The two Chesapeake Conference educators have dedicated over 88 years of service to Adventist Education.
Two beloved Chesapeake Conference educators are retiring following the completion of the 2021-22 school year.
Harry Janetzko, Highland View Academy principal, and Ophelia Barizo, Chesapeake Conference STEM coordinator, are retiring from educational work after more than 88 years of combined service in Adventist Education.
Janetzko joined HVA as principal in 2019. Before coming to the academy, Janetzko worked for more than 18 years in the Carolina Conference, part of his more than 45 years of teaching in Adventist schools. During his time at HVA, Janetzko helped the academy navigate the challenges of operating a boarding school during a global pandemic. Despite those challenges, the school grew more than 24% last year.
“Mr. Janetzko’s leadership at Highland View Academy has been a great blessing for the past three years,” says Janesta Walker, Chesapeake Conference superintendent of schools. “He provided a strong spiritual focus on our campus and continued to offer great support to the exceptional HVA faculty and staff. I feel fortunate to have been able to work with him in two conferences. He is a great friend and devoted educator who has given his life’s work to serving the Lord in Adventist Education. I wish him and his wife, Linda, the very best in their retirement.”
Janetzko’s passion for teaching over the years has been informed by a strong sense of mission and a belief that Adventist education is critical to helping young people form a Christian worldview.
“The Adventist classroom is about the only place in the world where you can get the unadulterated truth about the Bible,” Janetzko says. “Kids are bombarded today with atheistic claims that Christianity is just a bunch of myths and fairytales. One of the things I always wanted to convey to young people is that the Bible is reliable and these things are real.”
Janetzko plans to move to Roanoake, Va., in retirement to live closer to family.
Barizo has worked in Adventist education for more than 43 years. She began teaching in Chesapeake Conference in 1996 as a science teacher at HVA. In 2013, Barizo was awarded an Einstein fellowship at the National Science Foundation. She became the Chesapeake Conference STEM coordinator in 2016 and utilized many of the contacts she established during her fellowship to provide invaluable resources for Chesapeake Conference educators and students. During her tenure as STEM coordinator, HVA and Spencerville Adventist Academy became nationally STEM-certified schools.
“Ophelia Barizo is one of Chesapeake’s greatest treasures,” Walker says. “In the time she has spent in the Chesapeake Conference, she has left an indelible mark on the lives of countless students and teachers. As our conference STEM coordinator, she has provided excellent STEM resources and professional development opportunities to our educators and delivered engaging hands-on STEM activities to students across the conference.”
Barizo looks forward to traveling with her husband in retirement and plans to continue to visit schools to conduct STEM weeks of prayer.
“STEM helps us understand and appreciate more about God’s creation,” Barizo says. “God is the author of STEM. I’m really happy that we’ve made STEM a major focus in our conference schools.”