WARSAW — Warsaw Community Schools recently announced the retirement of Lincoln Elementary School Principal Cathy Snyder.
The longtime principal informed her staff she will be retiring at the end of the 2019-20 school year.
Snyder attended Indiana University in South Bend while she worked at McDonald’s to pay her tuition. At McDonald’s, she quickly rose to management.
But she always knew she wanted to be an educator.
“I was inspired to teach by so many of my caring teachers,” said Snyder. “I dearly loved my teachers all through school. I stayed after school to staple up bulletin boards. I played ‘teacher’ grading papers for my own instructors. I entertained the ladies who sat under the hair dryers at my aunt’s salon while I recited the pledge and sang my ABCs. Yes, I began preparing for my future many years ago.”
Snyder went on to teach elementary and high school. Her degree allowed her the opportunity to teach regular and special education. After a few years, Snyder advanced her own education and earned her master’s degree.
“I became a principal because I loved learning about teaching and how we can best help students to learn,” said Snyder. “I have ben fortunate to work alongside a terrific staff as principal at Lincoln Elementary from 2002 to 2020. Lincoln is a family to those who work, serve and attend. Our family does everything we can to make sure children know they are loved and cared for each and every day.”
These words were echoed by teachers who have known Snyder for decades and by teachers who are in their first years.
“I have worked for Cathy Snyder for 16 years, and if there is one thing that stands out to me it is the fact that she made every decision based on what she felt was best for the students,” said Scott Sterk. “She has such a compassionate heart. There have been countless times a student or struggling family would receive food or gift cards anonymously. Even though several people knew these had come from Cathy, she would never take any credit. In every interaction Cathy has ever had, whether it be a student, staff member, parent or other stakeholders she always treated people kindly and with great respect.”
“Cathy Snyder is a level 5 leader straight out of Jim Collins’ book ‘Good to Great,'” said David Wayne. “She is an ordinary person who produced extraordinary results as the principal of Lincoln Elementary School. Although humble and modest, it was Cathy’s ferocious resolve and relentless determination to do what was best for students that helped her turn a then leaderless, floundering school into one of the highest performing schools in our area. Cathy empowered her teachers to work creatively and collaboratively in order to meet student needs while staunchly holding them to a high standard of educational delivery within the framework of love and student achievement.”
More sentiments, well wishes and notes of appreciation from Lincoln staff were collected and shared on the district website and with Snyder. Her Lincoln family is planning a reception to honor her at a later date.