Get to Know: Betty Getzfred, retiring principal at Pope John XXIII and St. Boniface Schools

This 2020-2021 school year has been a lot of things. It’s also the last school for retiring school administrator Betty Getzfred. We are in awe of the lives she has changed as a teacher and school leader over the past four decades. Help our office wish her well in retirement; she deserves it!

Betty has called Elgin, Nebraska home for 44 years after growing up on a farm outside of Graettinger, Iowa, where she was one of ten siblings.

When Betty went to college, she had the intention of becoming a nurse, but realized soon after that she wanted to be a teacher. After graduation, she began teaching in the Fall of 1976 at St. Boniface Catholic School in Elgin. And that’s where she has been ever since!

“There have been a lot of changes at St. Boniface and Pope John XXIII over the years. I’ve had the opportunity to work with numerous pastors, board members, staff and parents who have helped me become a better servant leader.  It is rewarding each day to interact with children of former students, to work with former students as board members, staff members, community business owners and parents,” said Betty.

When asked if she had a favorite memory – as if easy to choose just one after 44 years – she shared this:

“I have a lot of memories to treasure but I think you always remember the first classes you encountered.  I had a wonderful group of students in my first year at St. Boniface. They loved softball and so did I.   We played a lot of softball my first couple of years during noon recess. I enjoy school reunions, holidays and when former students come back to Elgin to visit. And I now say to some of the younger students, ‘I taught your grandpa and grandma!’ They can’t believe it!”

Generations of impacting the lives of those around her.

That’s how we would describe her career. How does Betty describes her own career in Catholic education?

“It is a one-of-a-kind learning experience because it focuses on more than just academics.  I believe that nurturing the entire person in mind, body and spirit is necessary for a happy, healthy and balanced life.  I have been fortunate to work with so many dedicated professionals.  Together, we have continued to carry on the mission of Jesus Christ.  I have been blessed to be a part of the best profession!  One that provides opportunities every day to make a meaningful difference in the lives of young people by what we say and do, how we act and react in the decisions we make.

I firmly believe saying “yes” to the call to be a Catholic educator is doing something beautiful for God.  A path in life I am glad I said yes to 44 years ago.”

Betty and her husband will Jim will remain in Elgin when she retires. They have two daughters and five grandchildren. In her retirement, Betty looks forward to spending more time with her family and her attending grandchildren’s activities. She also enjoys traveling, gardening, wire welding, sports, reading and trying new recipes.

Lisa Schumacher, current principal at St. Michael School in Albion has been announced as the new principal at St. Boniface in Elgin to assume Betty’s role for the upcoming school year. Would you believe that Lisa was even one of the students Betty formerly taught!


The Catholic Schools Office is proud to have worked alongside Betty. We can’t wait to hear about her continued involvement in the community as she retires at the end of the school year.