Impact Stories » Cat Cain: Operations Manager

Cat Cain: Operations Manager

It seems like Cat Cain knows everything that goes on at the Kauffman School. Her responsibilities include overseeing enrollment of students, food service, transportation and coordination of field trips and special events. That’s a lot of hats to wear.

Her background as a teacher made the transition to school operations a bit easier.

“Because I had been in a classroom, I know what teachers need to be supported,” she says. “The stronger the operations team, the more the teachers are able to focus on teaching and lessons, rather than the logistics of a field trip. The focus is 100 percent on their students, and that’s how we get the academic results that we get.”

And the results are incredible. Kauffman School students are outperforming their Missouri peers in all subjects tested.

“We’re proving what our kids can do,” says Cat. “All students can perform at a high academic level. All students.”

The operations staff, although not in the classroom, plays a big part in the success of the school. Cat came to Kansas City as a Teach For America corps member after graduating from Texas A&M University. She joined the Kauffman School as a fifth-grade math teacher and then moved to the operations team.

“The reason I came to Kauffman was fueled by a craving for development,” she says. Cat receives professional development and coaching just like Kauffman School teachers by meeting weekly with the operations team. “We are always pushing for excellence—in ourselves and in our organization. The development is the reason I came here, and it’s the reason I stay.”

Cat says she’s still involved with students, just in a different way. The operations team plays a big role in supporting student instruction by leading after-school clubs and programs, managing the whole-school calendar and planning logistics for parent-teacher conferences, which, thanks to the Cat and the operations team, have had 100 percent attendance.

“I know a lot of the students because I started as a teacher,” she says. “I still pop into classrooms, work in the back, see the kids. I’m consistently impressed by what I see in the classroom. And because I know the inner-workings of the classroom, I’m able to understand what the teacher is thinking, anticipate frustrations and plan ahead.”

That teamwork and camaraderie helps the Kauffman School feel like a family.
“It’s a challenge but that’s why I love it,” Cat says. “It’s so rewarding. Every day.” -Cat Cain