Preschool teacher celebrates 35 years with district

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Cathy Schlein, Head Teacher/Director at Apex PRD’s Lake Arbor Preschool, has taught somewhere between 1500-2000 children in her tenure with the district. Last week, she was recognized for 35 years of service.

On a recent chilly fall morning, she interacted with a group of a dozen or so 3-year-olds with enthusiasm, interest and energy. “I love what I do,” Cathy said. For her, that is one of the most important aspects of the work. “I’m fortunate to have great kids, great parents and a place to design a program that fits all individuals.” Throughout 3 ½ decades, about ten different supervisors, changes in Apex PRD facilities and even more changes in the education profession, the important things are in place with Cathy, her students and the learning process.

For example, the children are participants in all aspects of their preschool experience. “They need to be invested in programs – not just the learning and activity part, but things like helping with cleanup and putting away.” Seeing this in action is fun and inspiring. Cathy has a knack for gathering a group and organizing their activity, while still giving each individual the attention they need.

She also takes a holistic approach to learning, taking a theme and bringing in elements of science, creativity, physical activity, dance, music, nature and more. For example, both the Tiny Tots and KinderKids are now studying bats…making bats and bat caves, learning about the mysterious world of bats, and weaving in a little Halloween excitement. Her experience brings the ability to make a seamless transition through all aspects of a theme while sharing each child’s insights and energy.

Cathy also enjoys seeing students as they grow up – and many of them keep in touch. One former preschooler recently sent her an announcement of his induction into the Navy. She also has a handful of parents with children in her program, who were former students themselves.

We’re fortunate to have someone with Cathy’s experience, talent and caring attitude. Congratulations to her for sharing it with us and making each moment count today! For more information on Apex PRD preschools, day camps and programs for young children at the Secrest Recreation Center, contact Laina Doyle, Youth/Teen Coordinator,