Julian (VL ’89) and Jennifer (VL ’90) pose with their three children in a recent family photo. From left, Logan, Julian, Jennifer, Alaina, & Evan.

Valley Lutheran High School is pleased to announce Mr. Julian Petzold as the Executive Director of VLHS effective August 1, 2020. Mr. Petzold replaces Dr. John Brandt, who has faithfully led Valley for 41 years and announced his retirement earlier this school year.

When Valley Lutheran’s “Transition Team” was formed in September 2019, they recognized with anxiousness the size of the task at hand:  to find a suitable replacement for Dr. Brandt.  Transition Team leader Todd Brechtelsbauer explained the process a bit more:

From the beginning, it was clear God brought the right team of people together. We came from different occupations, different backgrounds, and different associations with Valley – but all share a love for Valley. That love was clearly evident in the time and energy dedicated to this process. We met frequently, almost weekly through much of the process, starting in September of 2019 and culminating with the call to Julian in March 2020. During those meetings, everyone was very engaged, adding different perspectives to our discussions.  By the time we consensed on a decision, we had thoroughly vetted it, and all agreed.  Reaching that consensus was not always easy, but by the time we made a decision, we were always aligned and fully supportive.

Throughout the call process, the Transition Team continued to feel the support of the entire Valley family, near and far. Many reached out with words of support, encouragement, and, most importantly, prayer. After much prayer and deliberation, with God’s direction, a call was extended to and accepted by Mr. Julian Petzold.

Mr. Petzold is no stranger to Valley and the Saginaw area. He grew up in Millington, attending St. Paul Lutheran Church.  He attended Valley Lutheran for high school where he was involved in cross country, basketball, baseball and was member of the German Club, as well. Some of his fondest memories of his days as a student at Valley are a direct result of the relationships developed with friends and classmates doing fun things together. One such “fun memory” was helping pick every little pebble from the area that was built into Valley’s baseball field. Recalling how the faculty cared about him as a student and helped him grow in faith is another fond memory of Mr. Petzold’s time as a student at Valley.

Reflecting on Mr. Petzold’s arrival, current Executive Director Dr. Brandt expressed, “I am excited for Valley Lutheran as we anticipate Mr. Petzold’s arrival this summer.  He is widely recognized in Lutheran schools as a man of strong faith, clear thinking, and a vision of what Lutheran schools can and should be.  The fact that he is a Valley Lutheran alumnus – well, that is just perfect!”

VLHS holds a special place for Julian as it is also where he met his wife, Jennifer.  The Petzold’s will celebrate 27 years of marriage this fall.  Julian and Jennifer have been blessed with three children, Evan, Alaina, and Logan. As a family, they enjoy camping, biking, and being outdoors together.

Professionally, Mr. Petzold has served in the Lutheran school system for over 25 years. His teaching career began as a second grade teacher at St. John Lutheran in Rochester. Soon after he began, St. John started a mission congregation called Living Word. Mr. Petzold was instrumental in the development and implementation of Living Word’s early childhood center and Lutheran School. He has served as principal of Trinity Lutheran in St. Joseph, Mich. and most recently as principal of Trinity Lutheran in Clinton Township, Michigan. Mr. Petzold is also currently serving on the Michigan Church Extension Fund Board of Trustees.

During his career in education, Julian has earned recognition for his leadership as the 2006 National Distinguished Early Childhood Administrator Award from LEA (Lutheran Educator’s Association) and the 2017 Principal of the Year Award from the Michigan District of the LCMS.

“Valley was such an influential time in my life of faith formation, and I am incredibly honored and excited to be able to be a part of the faith formation and academic learning processes at work in the lives of students,” shared Mr. Petzold. “Valley has a rich history of excellence, and I hope to work with the amazing faculty and staff to continue to build on that tradition of excellence in Christian education. I know Valley is impacting lives for living a life of faith in Jesus, and I am excited to be a part of it!”