Leaving behind a 31-year history with Youngstown City Schools, Stoops has taken the reins at Holy Family, where she said she already feels, "It really has been a perfect fit."
Sharing that she holds a licensure in special education and administration, and a permanent teaching certificate, Stoops' experience includes 17 years of teaching at Cleveland Elementary School, and administrative positions at Williamson Elementary, and at Paul C. Bunn, where she spent the last eight years.
Although her career to date has been spent in the public schools, "My family, we're big advocates for Catholic education," said Stoops, adding, "We have a strong Catholic school background."
One of six kids, all Cardinal Mooney High School graduates, Stoops has education in her blood, sharing that two uncles and her father were all teachers.
"My dad was loved and respected as a teacher," she said of the late Bob Stoops, who both taught and coached at her alma mater.
In addition, one brother teaches and all four are college football coaches, she shared, adding that she feels coaching is just another form of education. Stoops' only sister is a nurse.
Eager to remain connected to the students in more than an administrative capacity, "I knew I would," she said when asked if she misses teaching. "I like the personal contact with the children and the parents."
A staunch supporter of healthy, respectful relationship building and school camaraderie, Stoops said she is already actively planning future activities that will engage the students on how to treat their classmates.
Regarding the issue of general kindness and an atmosphere that lacks bullying, "I think it's one of the biggest things facing our youth," said Stoops, adding that she believes in being proactive in building relationships. Even as a disciplinarian, she said she feels a reprimand can come across positively when you've already established a relationship with the child, she said.
Officially an "empty-nester" with three children of her own, two sons ages 26 and 24, and a 21 year-old daughter, Stoops said she feels fortunate to be young enough at this stage of her life to enjoy focusing on continuing her career at Holy Family.
With the utmost respect for the field of education as well as the staff she has been charged with governing, "Educators take care of everybody's most precious possessions -- their children," said Stoops, adding of the educators at Holy Family, "This is a very strong staff."
Photo by Kathleen Palumbo, Town Crier correspondent
Holy Family School has welcomed new school Principal Kathy Stoops, pictured rear at left, with teacher Julie Grossman, and her kindergarten students. Stoops replaces former Holy Family School Chris Kijowski, who officially retired on June 7 following a 27-year career in the Catholic diocese.