Hilltop Elementary School Principal Cathy Mowry will be retiring at the end of the school year, but her work with children will go on. She took a brief moment to reflect on her career last week and talk about the future.
Mowry is a graduate of Cardinal Mooney's class of 1969. She went on to attend Kent State University and for the first two years was pursuing a degree in nursing.
"I decided my heart was with the children, so I switched my career path to education," she said.
Photo By J.T. Whitehouse, Town Crier
Hilltop Elementary School Principal Cathy Mowry is retiring at the end of the school year, but is keeping everyone smiling every day as she has done for years.
She went on to earn a degree in special education from Youngstown State University, and started working for the Mahoning County Educational Service Center in the early childhood program. She said the county also asked her to handle exercises with the geriatrics program.
"It was from birth to death and every grade in between," she said.
She also began working in the adult education and G.E.D. program for the Mahoning County correction facility. She said working with the prisoners, she saw people who only wanted someone to believe in them.
"After working with children so long, I accidently put a star on one of the prisoner's papers," she said. "After doing that, I thought how embarrassed he would be. He looked at me and asked what the star was for. I told him it meant I believed in him. Other prisoners in line to get their papers asked where their star was."
In 1998, Mowry was hired in the Canfield School District as a special ed teacher at the high school. She continued her work with the county as well, setting up a summer enrichment camp and alternative school. She later served as district director of student and career services, which earned her a leadership award for developing a career team for the state.
In a short time, she was able to move up to assistant principal at Canfield Middle School, serving with Principal Ron Infante, who she said taught her a lot. It left Mowry with one more step to make.
"I went to Superintendent Dante Zambrini and told him I only had one goal left and that was elementary school principal," Mowry said. "He asked me what one thing does a principal need. I thought a moment and answered, compassion. He said, right answer."
She made her goal and became Hilltop principal. She worked hard at Hilltop to make it a school where children would want to attend and where they would get a top-notch education.
One thing Mowry is best known for is smiling. She encourages not only the children, but the entire staff to have a positive attitude while caring about those around them.
"Every part of my journey has been a joy," she said. "There were so many treasures and memories made and each experience helped me become what I am today."
She said after she retires, she plans on spending time with her grandchildren, which she called "something new and something different." It doesn't mean her path in life has ended though.
"I will continue to work with children in some capacity," she said. "I just can't give it up all the way."