Lake Waccamaw, NC – “It is with great pleasure that I introduce Dr. Cathy Callihan Gantz as the new principal of Thomas Academy,” said Boys and Girls Homes of North Carolina President/CEO Ricky Creech. “We are truly blessed to be bringing an educator of this caliber to lead our school to the next level of academic success.”
Gantz began on December 1, after spending more than 20 years with the Baltimore County Public Schools in a variety of positions including principal and assistant to the area assistant superintendent. She also spent 18 years as an adjunct professor with Notre Dame of Maryland University and more than two years as an administrator with Cumberland County Schools. She was a teacher in North Carolina for 19 years.
“I moved back home to Elizabethtown in 2018,” said Gantz. “I was born there and my father grew up in Whiteville, so I have a strong connection to the area. When the position came up, someone I knew figured it would be something I would be interested in. After I met with Mr. Creech, it was pretty clear this was my next calling.”
Gantz has been serving as the Coordinator for the Bladen County Substance Misuse Task
Force and plans to continue supporting the task force as it is such a significant cause in the community.
“We are all partners in the success of the community,” said Gantz. “We are partners in education. I may hold the position of principal, but this is a partnership. I am partnering with students, teachers, parents and the community so that we are developing a well-balanced student who is successful in academics and in the world.”
Community connection is something Gantz demonstrates with her own involvement. She is Vice President of the Lumber River United Way Board, a member of the Elizabethtown Rotary Club, president of the Elizabethtown Foxglove Garden Club, and a member of the Elizabethtown Baptist Church. An avid reader, she also participates in a variety of book clubs.
“My goal for Thomas Academy to be a state of the art, attractive, educational institution,” said Gantz. “I want to get to know the boys and girls, the teachers, and the community. I want our school to be involved with the community and I want our boys and girls involved in the curriculum they are learning. I want to make sure that we close any gaps in learning. We need to address student needs. For those who are at grade level, we want to challenge them to excel beyond that.
“Every day we want to strive to be the best we can be as there is always room for improvement,” Gantz continued. “I want the boys and girls to feel supported by the administration and I want the teachers to feel supported by the administration. We want to provide the guidance for success. Students will do their best for you if they know you care. The same with teachers.”
Gantz wants parents to know that she has an open-door policy.
“I am a good listener and I truly want this to be a partnership for education,” she said. “It is important to have rich discussion as early as possible to help provide the student with an opportunity to tap into their interests both academic and extra-curricular. We want to expose the students to as many different professions and opportunities as possible to support those interests.
“I want to be very transparent with everyone,” Gantz continued. “We are in this business together. Everything I do, every decision I make for the school, will be in the best interest of our boys and girls. I tell my teachers that the parents send us their best. We need to make our time with the students most effective so they strive to reach their highest potential.”
Gantz holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Elementary Education from East Carolina University. She earned a Master’s Degree in Elementary Education, Administration and Education Specialist, and a Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership and Administration from Fayetteville State University.
“I am here to make a difference for the boys and girls, faculty and staff,” Gantz said. “I will give as much as it takes to make things happen. I want to tap into each individual’s potential and foster leadership.”