New Town Elementary Principal Catherine (Cathy) Perry’s passion for education began at a young age.
When she was only seven-years-old, Cathy remembers standing in front of a chalkboard set up in her garage, often assigning homework and disciplining the pretend “students” who sat in a row of empty chairs.
After years of teaching at elementary and middle schools, and joining the administrative staff at New Town Elementary, it was that same passion for education that led Cathy to be selected as this year’s top principal during the 2017 Principal of the Year Luncheon. The awards luncheon was held Thursday, Oct. 12 at Union County Public Schools’ (UCPS) Professional Development Center.
“I feel extremely honored and humbled to have even been a part of this group as a finalist. Everyone in this room – building-level administrators and district-level administrators – has shaped me into the principal that I am today and that I continue to grow to be,” Cathy said after winning her award. “I take so much, the good and the bad, from everything that we go through together. I am humbled and honored, and thank you so much for this recognition.”
Cathy, who has been principal at New Town Elementary for nearly five years, was recognized for her efforts to lead the school’s staff towards excellence while also preparing students to take the next step on their journey to being prepared for college, career and life.
Under her leadership, New Town Elementary received an A+ School Performance Grade as well as exceeded its growth measure during the past three years. She received a Team UCPS Leadership Award in 2016 for her leadership and level of communication during a lockdown at her school, which was further complicated by a power outage.
As principal of UCPS’ largest elementary school, which has more than 900 students and nearly 100 staff members, Cathy was also recognized for creating and sustaining a climate of high expectations for student learning and behavior.
“When you go to this school, you know immediately that it is a school that is focused on kids first. They are focused on data-driven improvement and have the highest expectations” said UCPS Superintendent Dr. Andrew Houlihan before presenting Cathy with her award. “This is a fantastic school and I’m so very proud of the work and accomplishments that have occurred during the past year since I’ve been here.”
Union County Education Foundation presented Cathy with a $2,000 check, half of which will be donated to New Town Elementary and the other half which will go towards her personal use. Cathy will now represent UCPS in the regional Wells Fargo Principal of the Year competition.