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Newly Retired Orcutt Catholic School Principal Grateful to Have Answered the Call(s)

Kathy Crow reflects with pride on 37-year career at St. Louis de Montfort Catholic School

Kathy Crow has retired as principal of Orcutt’s St. Louis de Montfort Catholic School, where she previously taught second and eighth grades. “Junior high teachers go straight to heaven,” she says. “There’s no purgatory.” Click to view larger
Kathy Crow has retired as principal of Orcutt’s St. Louis de Montfort Catholic School, where she previously taught second and eighth grades. “Junior high teachers go straight to heaven,” she says. “There’s no purgatory.” (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

Kathy Crow spent 14 years in the principal’s office, but her heart remained in the classroom.

The principal of St. Louis de Montfort Catholic School in Orcutt has retired, ending 37 years at the campus where she previously taught second and eighth grades.

“I had never in my wildest dreams ever imagined being in any kind of administration,” Crow said. “And while I loved everything I did, I missed the classroom. I got back any opportunity I could.”

Retirement will allow Crow and her husband, Alan, to visit their sons’ families, including two granddaughters in North Carolina and a grandson due in August in Oregon.

After spending two years at Mission College Preparatory in San Luis Obispo, Crow sought to attend classes closer to home and graduated from Righetti High School in 1966.

Her father influenced her career choice, she said, recalling that he held teachers in the highest esteem.

“When I went to college, I just went to be a teacher,” said Crow, who graduated from San Diego State University. “There was no discussion. That’s what I wanted to do. I really don’t remember deciding.”

She got married and moved to Missouri, where she completed her student teaching before moving to Santa Maria.

“At the time they, were not hiring in the public schools so my good Catholic mother contacted St. Mary’s to see if they were hiring,” Crow said of St. Mary of the Assumption Catholic School in Santa Maria, which she attended as a child.

St. Mary’s offered her a job, which she took, figuring she eventually would move to a public school.

After five years, she quit while pregnant with her second child. She intended to stay home for a while, but the nun serving as principal at St. Louis called with different plans.

“She said Father Anthony said you would teach second grade,” Crow recalled. “I said, ‘Oh, Sister, I’m not ready to go back.’”

But the nun asked her to come in so they could talk.

“What good Catholic girl doesn’t say to a nun, ‘Yes, Sister’?” she laughed.

Crow walked into the office, where keys sat on top of a stack of books, and the principal said, “There’s your books and there’s the keys. Father Anthony said you would teach second grade.

“And I did,” said Crow, who returned to work in the fall of 1980.

After teaching second grade for a time, the principal asked Crow to sit down for a talk outside, pitching the idea of moving to eighth grade.

“Junior high teachers go straight to heaven,” she said, reluctantly agreeing to spend a year in eighth grade. “There’s no purgatory.

“I loved it. I loved eighth grade. I discovered that was where I should be.”

Fourteen years ago, the nun again suggested chatting with Crow, leading to the job as principal although she balked initially.

Under Crow’s leadership, the school, a kindergarten through eighth grade campus, also has maintained an enrollment of approximately 250.

“But that’s because of the teamwork by the faculty, staff and administration,” she said.

Even as she retires, Crow has plans to help St. Louis add a preschool.

The new principal is a familiar face — Gina Fox, who has taught at the school for many years.

Crow is proud of taking St. Louis to the next level after inheriting a good school.

“With technology innovations and curriculum changes we were able to continue to offer the best education,” she said. “I am very proud of so many of our graduates who have gone on to be very successful adult citizens in this community and outside.”

Through the years, Crow, as a teacher and principal, has connected with hundreds of students along with other educators.

“Kathy Crow has had a significant influence in the lives of thousands of children through her teaching, leadership and sincere kindness,” said Michelle Cox, principal at St. Mary’s.

“As a fellow principal, I am grateful for her partnership and teamwork to provide Catholic education in the Santa Maria Valley.”

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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