Catrina Wilson – PEIMS Clerk, Registrar, Events Coordinator & Cheer Sponsor
Catrina Wilson joined Dell City ISD earlier this year, but, at her desk in the main office, she's already found her place at the heart of the campus. Wilson is the school's registrar – responsible for registering new and incoming students – and she's the clerk for “PEIMS” – the Public Education Information Management System. She's also the school's events coordinator and sponsor for the cheerleading program. In her multiple roles, Wilson is making a vital contribution both in administration, and in the experience of Dell City students.
And she's often juggling tasks throughout the day.
“That's when multitasking comes in,” Wilson said, “and I'm a good multitasker – I can be working on three projects at once. And I like it – I love working with the kids, and my peers here are wonderful.”
Wilson's work began with a steep learning curve. PEIMS is a system of reporting required by the Texas Education Agency – the district is required to submit regular reports on enrollment, attendance, student demographics and more, and state funding hinges on those reports.
Early in the school year, Wilson attended a PEIMS training with then-school secretary Adriana Sanchez and Principal Carlos A. Contreras. Wilson said that the maze of requirements – and the high stakes for the school – initially made the reporting daunting.
“The terminology – at first, it's a like a foreign language,” Wilson said. “I didn't think I could do it. But we broke it down step-by-step, and we learned together. I had my first submission to TEA at the end of November, and we did it – we got everything in early, and we passed.”
Engaging with students' families and the community is a priority at the Dell City School. Taking note of Wilson's strong organizational skills, Contreras asked Wilson if she would take over planning for special events, events aimed at celebrating student achievement and strengthening the bonds between school and community.
Since then, Wilson has planned academic awards ceremonies, the school's Veterans Day program, “family nights” focused on reading and math, and a parade, bonfire and other activities for 2018 homecoming. She works to keep family members informed about school events, and designs and distributes flyers for special activities.
Wilson's role as sponsor for the cheerleading program started with a request from students. In the fall, a group of high-school students formed a committee to try to launch a cheerleading program at the school. They found other students, both in junior-high and high school, who were interested in participating. They met with Principal Contreras to discuss their plan, and they reached out to Wilson to be their staff sponsor.
Cheerleading was new to Wilson, but she and her students watched YouTube videos, found things they liked and created their own cheers. They began cheering at football games in the fall, and will be on hand to stoke school spirit at basketball games this winter.
“In January, we'll have cheerleaders for all games,” Wilson said. “The junior-high girls will cheer for the varsity girls, all the cheerleaders will cheer for boys' varsity, and the high-school cheerleaders will cheer for the junior-high team.
“Being in a small school, it's a little different,” she said. “We have to share. All our cheerleaders, of course, are in whatever sport is going on, so we have to maneuver our practices around that.”
The “no-pass, no-play” policy applies to cheerleading, and Wilson said it's important to her that cheerleading not interfere with students' academics, or with their athletic commitments.
“They're not allowed to cheer or be on my sidelines at all if they're not passing,” Wilson said. “Grades are number one – you're not going to get anywhere in life without that.”
At the end of November, Adriana Sanchez moved out of the school secretary position, to become the district's ESL instructional aide. The district is now seeking a full-time replacement, but, in the interim, Wilson stepped in to assist with secretarial duties – answering phones and greeting parents and visitors, collecting attendance, overseeing student announcements, and assisting the principal in day-to-day school operations.
Wilson said she welcomed the work – but also wanted to makes sure she could continue to serve as events coordinator and cheer sponsor.
“Because with those things, everything I do is for the kids,” she said. “I love making sure that our kids have plenty to do, and that we can get family involvement with the school and their students.”
Born and raised in Lubbock, Wilson met her husband, Chuck, in 1993. Chuck is Ag teacher, FFA coordinator and coach at Dell City ISD. Chuck was raised in the small town of Plains, in a family with ranching roots, but Catrina said she initially felt “shell shock” at rural and small-town life. But the couple's 25-year journey has taken them to rural communities around Texas, and Catrina said she's become a “small-town person.”
“We've got our animals – we have pigs, and we've had goats and horses,” Wilson said. “Living in smaller towns, living in the country – I love it.”
Chuck was just out of the Marines when the two met. He went into oil-field work, and Catrina was a stay-at-home mother. The Wilsons have four children – a son, two biological daughters, and an adopted daughter – and, now, three grandchildren.
When the Wilsons' youngest child reached school age, Wilson began to work as a substitute teacher. Chuck ultimately tired of the oil field, and went back to college, at Texas Tech, to become an Ag science teacher. He found his first teaching job, four years ago, at the Sierra Blanca School, and Catrina became the school's cafeteria manager.
The Wilsons quickly knew they'd found a good match in Hudspeth County. Wilson said they immediately felt at home here.
“Hudspeth County is the county to be in,” she said. “It's the people here. Sure, it's hotter than heck in the summer, and your power goes out all the time, but I don't care – the people are wonderful.”
The Wilsons left Hudspeth County, and Chuck found work at other school districts, but Hudspeth County stayed on their minds. Wilson said her children had “blossomed” in their year in Sierra Blanca, and that she and Chuck “noticed they weren't doing as well in other districts.”
The family moved back to Sierra Blanca this summer – just in time to learn Dell City ISD was hiring for an Ag teacher. The Wilsons now spend weekdays in Dell City, and weekends at their home in Sierra Blanca.
Wilson said she's been delighted by the Dell City School, and by the sense of community that joins staff, parents and students here.
“I love this school district,” she said. “The teachers are all very open, and the administration is very, very helpful. The students are very loving, very caring. Everybody gives everybody a helping hand, and that's how things are able to function.”
The Wilsons' youngest child is a Dell City student. She was hospitalized recently, and Wilson said the response from her coworkers exemplified the spirit at the school.
“The whole time we were gone, I would get calls and texts two or three times a day, asking how she was doing,” Wilson said. “Most school districts aren't like that – at other districts, it would be, 'Are you coming back some time soon?'”
The Wilsons' own investment in the school community is evident. Recently, Chuck noticed that one of his students was squinting, struggling to read words on the board during class – Chuck and Catrina found the student a pair of glasses she could wear during the school day. And, with support from school administrators, they reached out to an El Paso optometrist, who has agreed to travel to Dell City and provide free eye exams, and free eyeglasses, to students and community members.
“We have students that need help,” Wilson said, “and in finding a way to help them, the school is going to be able to help everybody.”
It's the kind of person a school needs in the main office – someone who's focused not only on administrative details, but on the needs, and the humanity, of each student.