Katie Puthoff: Principal Embraces Sharing the Faith at Culturally Diverse Price Hill School
by John Stegeman
For Katie Puthoff, principal at Holy Family School in the Cincinnati neighborhood of Price Hill, being an educator isn’t just a job. It is as much a ministry as it is the fulfillment of a childhood dream.
“Even from when I was little, my parents would tell you I wanted to play school and teacher,” Puthoff said. “Even in high school and college, my heart would always go back to education, even if I considered other things… I wanted to be able to care in the same way as the teachers I had. I always just had a passion for kids. No matter where I went or what I did, I wanted to help them become better people.”
Puthoff credits this inspiration to the teachers who taught her as she grew up. In fact, nearly her entire education took place in Catholic schools and universities in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. She attended St. Michael in Sharonville for grade school, Mount Notre Dame for high school, and University of Dayton for both her undergrad and masters work in college. At each step of the way her vocation for teaching became clearer.
A principal now for three years, Puthoff began teaching at Our Lady of Visitation on Cincinnati’s West Side before returning to teach at her alma mater, St. Michael. She became a principal so her impact could reach more students, helping them grow academically and spiritually.
“Catholic education is truly the future of the Church,” she said. “I enjoy helping to raise kids in the Catholic faith and teaching them how great God can be and how to live a life that is not only fulfilling, but can do good in the world.”
At Holy Family School, Puthoff presides over a unique mix of students, most of whom live nearby. The school’s latest fact sheet reports that the 227 students in pre-K through eighth grade are 64 percent Latino, 15 percent African American, 14 percent Caucasian and 7 percent multiracial. Seventy four percent of the students are Catholic.
“Our school is very diverse,” Puthoff said. “The population in Price Hill has shifted a lot in the last 10 years. Many of our students come from families that need a little extra support.”
Holy Family is one of nine schools served by the Catholic Inner-City Education Fund (CISE), which provides a broad scope of support, including funding, to the schools.
“I loved teaching at Visitation and St. Michael,” Puthoff said. “But I’ve never seen God work more than in these years I’ve been at Holy Family. God works through people and it’s something I see every day whether it’s a teacher giving their all to help a student or their family, or someone who sends their child here and trusts us to do what’s best for them.”
Coming back to the career aspect, Puthoff emphasized the reasons one should consider following a path to work in Catholic education.
“It is important for people to realize the difference a Catholic education can make in a kid’s life,” Puthoff said. “The biggest thing you should ask yourself is ‘Why do you want to be a Catholic educator and what kind of differences do you want to make?’ If you want to be in a kid’s life and give them opportunities by helping shape their faith and giving them opportunities to learn, then you should consider it.”