Dr. Anthony Catalano is the newest face at Wilson Elementary School serving as the Assistant Principal two days a week. Principal Darcy Pollak asked him to apply for the part time job as the two used to work together, in fact he was her boss at one time. The tables have turned for the two friends.
"Wilson is a great place to be," Dr. Catalano said to the Gridley Unified School Board at a recent meeting. With 600 students enrolled at Wilson grades two through five, there is plenty of work for the two to share.
Retired from Thermalito Elementary in 2011, Dr. Catalano received most of his teaching experience there. He and Pollak worked together four years when he was Assistant Principal at Nelson Avenue School and she was teaching.
Dr. Catalano's wife teaches PE at Chico High and he has two step-children. They have lived in Butte County since 1976, first in Paradise, now in Chico.
Since retirement he was taking care of five acres and golfing but he missed having a structure and a sense of community.
He went to work part time at Forest Ranch Elementary school teaching a small group of kids for three years,
He became involved with the Forebay Aquatic Center on Garden Drive in Oroville in 2015 teaching boating safety and an environmental program. He still serves as Director at the Forebay as they form a non profit for rowing and sailing rentals. The non profit is also working with the State of California for a new Aquatic Center and the possibility for an Olympic rowing course as the closest one is in Sacramento. The plan is to develop the community as a sailing center to increase community participation as well as greater Oroville and Butte County. Collegiate teams have practiced in Oroville and they have also had the Yale and Stanford Women's teams come to practice.
"The goal is to have the 2018 Olympic team practice there. The center will be available for weddings and other event rentals. This project is between two and five years out and his group will meet with Assemblyman James Gallagher in two weeks to ask for his help.
"The kids are great here. The staff is very welcoming. It is a nice job to have and it is fun to be back at school, supporting teacher and helping families out," he stated.
As our interview ended the Principal and Assistant Principal were heading out to visit the classrooms and see what had been done for the "Kindness" January school challenge to see what students would be acknowledged over the loudspeaker and to say thank you to the staff.