About

About Me

Dr. Joseph Olzacki, of East Hampton, Connecticut, is an esteemed educator with more than 25 years in education, administration, and program leadership.

Olzacki trained at the University of Virginia, Darden School of Businesses. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Politics and Government, a Bachelor of Music in Management and Promotion, and a Masters of Music in Education.

Olzacki is highly experienced in the field of education. He held the position of Director of Performing Visual Arts, Public Relations, and Curriculum at Bloomfield Public Schools in Bloomfield, Conn., for nearly 12 years. Here, he worked to develop a full curriculum for preschool through the 12th grade. He assessed staff, took leadership roles, and initiated the renowned Identity Project.

Olzacki and the Identity Project

Dr. Joseph Olzacki has now worked with the Voices of Hope project for numerous years, and it all began with the Identity Project at Bloomfield Public Schools.

Throughout this project, students in Bloomfield Public Schools were asked, "What happens if someone takes everything that makes you, you?"

The answer, through tireless investigation, research, and experience, was essential "genocide." Dr. Joseph Olzacki partnered with Rabbi Phillip and Ruth Lazowski, and the Lazowski family, in this program that was offered over the course of seven years. It sought to teach minority students about the Holocaust and other genocides around the globe, such as those in Rwanda and Cambodia.

The goal of the Identity Project was to help minority students accept adversity and appreciate life challenges through knowledge. The program always culminated with an annual trip to the U.S. Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C.

The Identity Project saw more than 500 students actively participating over the years. The program became internationally recognized, and Dr. Olzacki was praised far and wide for his work.

A Long List of Awards

Joseph Olzacki has received numerous awards for his work as an educator, in the community, and through the Identity Project.

In 2008, Olzacki was named Educator of the Year by the Hartford Symphony Orchestra For creating a district-wide learning environment that directly connects the arts with academic studies.

In 2010, he was presented with the Paul Harris Fellow Award by Rotary International for his work with students around the globe promoting human rights and other opportunities. He was named on the list of Connecticut Movers and Shakers in 2010 by Hartford Courant and Connecticut Jewish Ledger.

In 2011, Olzacki was presented with the University of Hartford Humanitarian of the Year Award.

Major Achievements

Dr. Joseph Olzacki has been widely praised for creating a district-wide learning environment that directly connects the arts with academic studies. He is an expert in directing teaching and learning experiences toward a worldview and higher-level critical thinking. Olzacki does this using the enriching resources of community and arts organizations.

With the overwhelming success of the Identity Project freshly behind him, Dr. Olzacki was asked to visit the Republic of Rwanda by the Ministry of Education. The goal was to assist this positively emerging nation in training the next generation of teachers.

In 2014, His Excellency President Paul Kagame of the Republic of Rwanda and University of Hartford President Walter Harrison signed an MOU to create the Rwandan Teacher Education Program, (RTEP).

The RTEP began working to educate more than 5000 Rwandan educators in English language learning, education methods, and peace initiatives. These were taught using the HIPP program with a concentration on internet computer technology. Data collected on the RTEP showed impressive successes in ability and understanding.

“As the Director of the Rwandan Teacher Education Program at the University of Hartford, Joe made a mark on the awareness of the Rwandan genocide and the importance of tying lessons of the past to modern-day tragedies," VOH Chair, Peter Fishman stated.

Dr. Olzacki, working again with Rabbi Lazowski, VOH and many others, played an integral role in getting the mandate for Holocaust and genocide education passed. This resulted in CT Senate Bill 452, the Holocaust and World Genocide Education law.

Dr. Joseph Olzacki, Lazowski, and the remainder of the team exhaustively reached out to legislators and the community to convey why the legislation is so important. They spent countless hours emailing, making telephone calls, and creating demonstrations.

They sought to prove that lessons of the Holocaust and genocide are pertinent, especially now.

In 2019, Dr. Olzacki was honored by the VOH for his diligence in “getting the job done.” Dr. Olzacki was recently the superintendent of Connecticut Region 14 schools, which served the communities of Bethlehem and Woodbury, Connecticut.

Personal Interests and Hobbies

Olzacki has dedicated much of his life to helping others reach their full potential. Away from his work with the Identity Project and Voices of Hope, Olzacki is a member of the USA Rugby Foundation and Newport Rugby organization.

Changing the World Today

Olzacki continues to work with Voices of Hope and remains a major leader in his community. He has held the titles of Educator of the Year, Humanitarian of the Year, and more. It is expected that he will continue to be praised for the groundbreaking and life-changing work to which he has dedicated his life.

Portfolio

Dr. Joseph A. Olzacki Portfolio