Commack High School Principal Honored By March Of Dimes
High School Principal Cathy Nolan was honored by the March of Dimes with the Golden Apple Award on November 13. The Golden Apple Awards were created to recognize and honor outstanding individuals who have made a difference through their commitment to education. And Mrs. Nolan is one committed lady! A true believer in doing for others, Cathy learned “the true meaning of the beauty of selflessness, and that pure joy was a natural result of helping others.” She recalls hearing her mother say, on almost a daily basis, “To those much is given, much is expected.” She has a genuine love for what she does on a daily basis. “My blessings are many. I continue to view my life’s work as an educator to be a vocation – a vocation in which I can personally, and through others, affect the minds, hearts, and hands of our students at Commack High School.”
Cathy chose to pursue Administration at Dowling College in 2005 in her mission to connect with all children. Cathy thrived on stretching her own mind so that she could enrich the young minds of her students. From 2005 to 2010, Cathy served CHS’s children as their Assistant Principal and is currently in her third year as Principal – role-modeling habits of the mind while cultivating habits of the heart for her children.
As an administrator who encourages elements of choice and challenge among her students while promoting social and emotional learning, Cathy creates a welcoming educational environment, in which students learn – and thrive – by comfortably taking risks as lifelong learners. Cathy continues to spearhead programmatic initiatives that contribute to Commack’s Culture of Caring. As Commack’s educational leader, Cathy has been honored with ABC’s 2010 “Above and Beyond: Inspiring Students and Teachers,” was a 2009 JETS/Ability One National Engineering Design Challenge Finalist/Winner, and a recipient of the ING Unsung Heroes Award: Real Problems/Real Solutions along with $27,000 which enables her students to continue their research and engineering efforts to benefit those with special needs within Commack’s local community. CHS continues its vibrant work with March of Dimes as the primary high school on Long Island spearheading a Teen to Teen Program – a pilot program whereby Cathy’s students serve as ambassadors for the March of Dimes.
Under Cathy’s effective leadership, US News and World Report’s 2012 Best 100 High Schools in the Nation awarded Commack High School a Gold Medal reflecting her commitment to excellence and the importance of one’s “personal best.” Over the years, Cathy’s professional memberships include: CASA, PTA, SEPTA, Special Olympics, Young Athletes Program, HBC Special Soccer, AHRC, NASSP, ASCD, IAIE, CEC, CTA, and NAPW. Cathy’s special interests are spending time with her family and grandchildren, Katie and Patrick, cooking and baking, watching the Fightin’ Irish and reading professional literature while relaxing at the beach.
Photo above: Master of Ceremonies Regent Roger Tilles presents the Golden Apple Award to Cathy Nolan.
Story & Photos by Brenda Lentsch