- New Caney ISD
April 2023 Educator Spotlight: Catherine Olano
Each month, New Caney ISD highlights an educator who is nominated by their principal for doing an outstanding job. This month, NCISD features Catherine Olano, an educator from Porter High School.
Catherine Olano serves over 2,000 students as the associate principal of Porter High School. In this role, Ms. Olano has the opportunity to make an impact on students by overseeing the Porter High School building operations and preparing students for graduation by working with them on attendance and discipline.
“Really, my role is seeing those kids every day and letting them know that they have someone to talk to,” Ms. Olano said.
Prior to beginning her teaching career in 1996, Ms. Olano attended Louisiana State University and graduated with her bachelor’s degree from the University of New Orleans. Her career as an educator began in the Louisiana private school system where she served as a teacher and religion coordinator. After 11 years working in Louisiana, Ms. Olano made the switch to the Texas public school system, where she worked in Humble ISD as a teacher, Response to Intervention coordinator, and science instructional coach. In New Caney ISD, Ms. Olano has served as an assistant principal and campus principal at the elementary level as well as an assistant principal and now associate principal at Porter High School.
Working at Porter High School has been special for Ms. Olano because her students from Bens Branch Elementary, a feeder school for Porter High School, are now in attendance.
“It has been a joy for me to see some of these kids that I first met as an AP over at Bens Branch grow and get ready to walk across the stage,” Olano said. “I’ve enjoyed being on that journey with them.”
Porter High School Principal Cesar Condarco said he nominated Ms. Olano because “she is outstanding! The best associate principal I have been privileged to work with.”
Ms. Olano knew she wanted to be an educator from a young age.
“I was the kid that always played school,” Olano said. “From an early age, I always did something teaching oriented. When we had to do service projects and things like that, I was volunteering with kids, I was teaching swimming lessons, or tutoring.”
Teachers like her high school chemistry teacher, Ms. McGee, inspired Ms. Olano to pursue education. Ms. McGee’s words of encouragement and her ability to balance fun and learning has influenced Ms. Olano’s approach to educating. Ms. Olano learned the true impact that an educator can have by watching Ms. McGee build relationships with her students. For Ms. Olano, it is those small moments with students that mean the most.
“It's those moments that they say ‘you’ve always been there’,” Olano said. “Those are the kinds of things that make it the most worthwhile. Just having those kids stop and say ‘Hey, Ms. Olano’ or go for a high five or a hug, or when they just engage you in conversation. It’s those little things that have moved with me from place to place.”