Lincoln Principal Cathy Snyder to Retire

Warsaw Community Schools announces the retirement of Lincoln principal, Cathy Snyder. The longtime principal informed her staff she will be retiring at the end of the 2019-2020 school year.

Cathy Kocsis grew up 40 miles north-west of Warsaw in Mishawaka, Indiana. Reminiscing, Cathy recalled, “It was a time when most moms stayed home and dads picked a job they stayed with for years. Times have certainly changed, but change helps us to grow.”

Cathy attended Indiana University in South Bend while she worked at McDonald’s to pay her tuition. At McDonald’s, she quickly rose to management.

Cathy always knew she wanted to be an educator. Cathy explained, “I was inspired to teach by so many of my caring teachers. 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 hairdryers at my aunt’s salon while I recited the pledge and sang my ABCs. Yes, I began preparing for my future many years ago!”

Cathy went on to teach elementary and high school. Her degree allowed her the opportunity to teach regular and special education. After a few years, Cathy advanced her own education and earned her master’s degree. Cathy added, “I became a principal because I loved learning about teaching and how we can best help students to learn.”

Lincoln has been more than a job for Cathy. Speaking of what she values most, Cathy volunteered, “I have been fortunate to work alongside a terrific staff as principal at Lincoln Elementary from 2002-2020. 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 Cathy for decades and by teachers who are in their first years. Scott Sterk related, “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. 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.”

David Wayne added, “Cathy Snyder is a level 5 leader straight out of Jim Collins’s book, Good to Great. 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 the staff of Lincoln were collected and shared on the district website and with Mrs. Snyder. Her Lincoln family is planning a reception to honor Cathy Snyder at a later date.

Fred Rogers reminds us, “Often when you think you’re at the end of something, you’re at the beginning of something else.” Cathy agrees and adds, “I plan to enjoy the simple things in life. Read the Bible, read books, go on ‘talk walks’ and bike rides with my hubby, spend time with our 13 grandchildren and our children.”

The Lincoln Elementary family and WCS wish Cathy Snyder well as she starts the next chapter and enjoys more time with her family and friends.