Catherine McAllister interim assistant principal at Cactus Canyon Junior High

Catherine McAllister, interim assistant principal at Cactus Canyon Junior High School (right) with her daughter, Sarah Jackson, at a Veterans Day parade. (Photo courtesy of Apache Junction Unified School District.)

Catherine McAllister was a seasoned educator and administrator – with more than 28 years as an educator – before joining Apache Junction Unified School District in October.  She could have enjoyed a gratifying retirement filled with gardening, reading, interior decorating and spending time with her eight grandchildren, but something else beckoned to her after she married Jimmy McAllister and moved to Apache Junction.

Her stepson, Avery McAllister, was attending Apache Junction High School and Catherine McAllister attended sporting events, school board meetings, a scholarship ceremony and graduation. She liked what she saw – a community that truly supported its students.

“As I attended various events I was shocked to see the number of scholarships available to students, the community turnout at school events and the support for continuing education through NAU,” said Mrs. McAllister. “What I saw and continue to see in Apache Junction is that the community shows heart in everything they do.”

With the support of her husband, Mrs. McAllister made the transition to CCJH, first as a substitute teacher and then into administration. A lifelong learner, she follows the idiom to practice what you preach (or teach) and stays current in professional development by taking coursework and reading educational journals particularly current based evidence using technology in the classroom, such as Current Issues and Trends in Education, Common Core Standards, AVID Summer Institute, PLC Learning Community Summit, Accelerated Reader Seminar, Ruby Payne’s Framework for Understanding Poverty I, II, & III and Arizona School Administrators Qualified Evaluator Course.

Mrs. McAllister has expertise in all levels of student learning. She helped implement the Accelerated Reading program, as well as chairing a number of committees including the state accreditation for Advanced Education, a program that brings students who had dropped out back into the school so they could complete their high school education.

“I am honored to have the opportunity to work with dedicated educators in a district that has grown in educational technology while maintaining the level of care for all of its students,” said Mrs. McAllister.

While innovation and the latest technology are crucial in the educational field, Mrs. McAllister recognizes that parent and community involvement are key to student success. Now as the interim assistant principal at CCJH, she is ready to be “part of the heart” that helps AJUSD shine.

Editor’s note: Sally Marks is the public information officer for the Apache Junction Unified School District.




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