Clinton Street Elementary Principal Kim McCartan is making a big impact in education

Kim McCartan visits Mrs. Bicherl's class.

It takes years of hard work and dedication for educators to achieve tenure status from their school district. Earning this rank is an honor, and to receive it twice is something to take pride in. At the July 10 board of education re-organizational meeting, West Seneca’s Clinton Street Elementary Principal Kim McCartan received approval for her certified tenure appointment for elementary principal.

Born and raised in West Seneca, McCartan felt welcomed by West Seneca Central School District at an early age. “I always felt at home and feeling very supported,” she shared about attending Clinton Street Elementary, East Elementary, Middle and High Schools.

She kept in touch with many of her teachers as she left the district to pursue a degree in pharmacy from Canisius College. It wasn’t long before she realized her heart was more invested in education and she switched majors.

Her former high school science teacher, Bob Keefer, was a great mentor to her as her coursework changed. She found herself working with young children and graduated with a degree allowing her to teach every age from elementary through high school.

Wanting to give back to the district that provided her with many opportunities, McCartan made her way back to West Seneca as an employee in 1996. Her first position was at the Ed Center, where she was elated to reconnect with teachers from her elementary years. “The first year I started teaching at the Ed Center, my first grade teacher, Mrs. McCann, found out I was teaching and she brought over to me all these pictures from when I was in her class,” she said with a grin on her face.

After the Ed Center she made her way to Winchester and West Elementary Schools, worked as a teacher on special assignment for the preschool program and found herself assisting with staff development. She received her tenure as a teacher but as time passed she felt a need to make a bigger impact. “I wanted to help more students and more teachers. I felt there was more I could be doing.”

McCartan now leads Clinton Street Elementary, consisting of around 600 students and 70 faculty/staff members. “Here we really want to instill that sense of community I felt growing up and how to be good citizens,” she shared in her office. “My favorite part about working here is having the opportunity to go into classrooms every day and see kids happy and engaged in learning. A hug now and then doesn’t hurt either.”

She also has a seat on the district’s curriculum cabinet, where she works with teachers in the ELA program. “I think for me the important thing is for kids and families and teachers to understand their needs are being supported.”

Her belief in the school district is so strong she and her husband, Michael, who is also a graduate of East Senior, chose to have their three children go through the schools as well. Their oldest daughter, Marie, graduated from the Rochester Institute of Technology and now works in the engineering field. Their second and third children, Maddy and Sean, are a senior and sophomore at East Senior and are both enrolled in the Engineering Academy program.

“I couldn’t think of a better place for them to be,” she shared. “We have such great teachers and administrators and such great programs in our district.”

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