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From kids to kids: Goat farmer selected as new GHS principal

NEWS-TIMES PHOTO: STEPHANIE HAUGEN - Summer Catino is the new Gaston Junior/Senior High School principal. She runs a Gaston goat farm with her husband Scott Catino, who also works for the district. Summer Catino starts each morning milking 40 goats on her Gaston farm. She milks by machine, not hand, but it still takes a while.

During the school year, she then heads to the Gaston School District campus, where she dedicates the next eight to nine hours to students’ educations.

Starting in September, Catino will take the reins as junior/senior high school principal, 21 years after she first began working for the district.

Christine Collins resigned from her position as junior/senior high school principal, which she held for two years, citing personal reasons in a letter to the district. “We were sad to see Christine Collins resign and wish her the best,” said Gaston Superintendent Susan McKenzie.

As for Catino, “we are very excited to have her on board in this new capacity,” McKenzie said. “She has great leadership qualities and has desired to go into administration for quite some time.”

A Gaston resident, Catino started her career with the district more than two decades ago teaching fifth and sixth grade. Catino also taught social studies at Gaston’s junior/senior high school and has most recently been a district Teacher on Special Assignment (TOSA), working as the District Testing Coordinator and Instructional Coach.

Catino has lived in Gaston since 2000. She runs a Nigerian Dwarf goat farm with her husband Scott Catino — who works GSD’s Network Administration — and milks 40 goats before work each morning.

During the past year working as a TOSA, Catino said she became “extremely interested in becoming an administrator.” She provided support, feedback and professional development to teachers — and leadership to both staff and students. “I found I really enjoyed having this opportunity and administration seemed to be the natural progression in my career,” she said.

Catino said she talked to McKenzie, who supported her aspirations. The timing of this principal opening was sooner than she expected, “but the position is a great fit for me,” Catino said. She already knows the students, parents, staff and programs. “I’m ready to take on this new challenge.”

Catino holds a bachelors degree from Willamette University, a masters in teaching degree from Pacific University and is currently working with the Teacher Standards and Practices Commission to get a restricted administrative license for the 2016-17 school year. That’s a license for those who don’t have their administrator’s license and have not completed an administrator preparatory program.

“I think having a history in our school district and being a part of this community will make for a smooth, successful transition for the upcoming year,” Catino said. “I love that we’re a small school where we know all our students as individuals; we can personalize opportunities and programs based on student interest and student need so everyone can truly experience success.”