Hillpoint principal ready for new challenge

Published 11:28 pm Thursday, September 3, 2015

Principal Catherine Pichon next to the “On Track” display at Hillpoint Elementary School.

Principal Catherine Pichon next to the “On Track” display at Hillpoint Elementary School.

After 12 years of teaching and a few years in administration, Catherine Pichon has taken on the role of principal at Hillpoint Elementary School.

“I’m always up for a challenge,” she said.

Pichon spent time as an academic coach, as well as an assistant principal at Hillpoint Elementary and Mack Benn Jr. Elementary.

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As an elementary teacher, Pichon originally taught third grade, but kept being moved up. She ended up teaching fourth, fifth and even sixth grades. Every time she was moved up, she was a bit reluctant, but she ended up enjoying working with the older students. Her favorite grade to teach was fifth grade, she said.

Pichon recalled a number of occasions when former students called her, volunteered for her and even came to visit her. She recently received a call from a parent who said that their child, who is now in high school, still talks about her.

Pichon also mentioned a high school senior, whom she taught in her first year of teaching, who called to thank her for all she did as a teacher. A third memory she brought up was how she would submit her students’ writing into contests. Many of them were published, and she has a copy of the book.

Stories like these are other reasons she enjoyed teaching so much.

“I love the fact that I get to have a brand new set of students every year. It’s always a new challenge,” Pichon said on teaching.

She also said she loves the feeling she gets when she helps a student get that “aha” moment.

“I like that no day is the same,” Pichon said on what she likes best about administration so far. You can’t plan your day in this job, she said.

Pichon dipped her toe in the water by taking on the role of principal at the summer school program.

“I want to push myself to do better and impact more people,” Pichon said. This goal is displayed in her efforts to express “character education” as the theme for this year at Hillpoint. The “On-Track” program encompasses Tolerance, Respect, Accountability, Courage and Kindness.

Pichon has given each teacher a piece of a train track to decorate and write on. They are to write how they intend to stay on track in their personal and professional lives this year. After the staff has done so, the track will be put together and placed on display.

Pichon hopes to continue improving Hillpoint so that it is considered the No. 1 in the district in both academics and community involvement.

“I’d say it’s a very rewarding occupation,” she said of education. “It’s all about service. You absolutely have to have a love for children and a love for people.”