Cuvelier is new principal at Notre Dame Elementary


CRESCO - Notre Dame Elementary begins the 2017-2018 school year with a new principal, Renee Cuvelier.
She follows in the footsteps of her predecessor, Wendy Schatz, who retired last spring after 40 years in Catholic education.
Cuvelier received her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from the University of Northern Iowa in 1991, and began teaching first grade in West Des Moines. She got married and moved to Northeast Iowa, where she was employed by Howard-Winneshiek Schools.
“I began my career teaching Title I Reading in Elma. At that time, I went back to graduate school and received my master’s degree in reading education in 1997 from UNI. I continued to teach at a variety of different grade levels and subjects during my 20-year span at Howard-Winneshiek.”
Cuvelier received her National Board for Professional Teaching Standards in Literacy: Reading Language Arts/Early and Middle Childhood in 2007, and decided to switch to teaching in parochial schools. She taught first grade in Protivin for three years.
Her next career move to Notre Dame Elementary, she said, occurred by happenstance.
“I was attending a teacher in-service, and Wendy Schatz asked if I knew anyone seeking a teaching job at Notre Dame. I walked out of the in-service training and the idea hit me between the eyes: I had always wanted to teach at Notre Dame under the direction of Wendy Schatz. That began my teaching career at Notre Dame. I taught second grade last year.”
Her career at Notre Dame Elementary took an unexpected turn in 2017.
“Last fall, when Wendy announced her retirement, I thought, ‘This (the school principal position) is something I might want to try’, but I always came up with ‘no’ for an answer. Then in January, another staff member reached out to me. She said this was my calling; that I was led to Notre Dame to teach so Wendy could retire, and I could use my talents right here as principal at Notre Dame. I felt it was a calling to pursue educational leadership.”
To that end, CuveIier spoke at great length with Kim Hermsen, Superintendent of Schools at the Archdiocese in Dubuque. Then, her journey began.
“I was offered the position as principal at Notre Dame, and hired in March 2017. The position required I have an educational leadership certification, so in order to get that, I am returning to graduate school and will finish in December 2018.”
As the 2017-2018 school begins Thursday, Cuvelier said she is looking forward to working with the Notre Dame community in her new position:
“My goal is to let every child know that they matter and to share God’s love with all whom we encounter,” she said. “I’m looking forward to my journey into educational leadership, and I’m very excited for it and all of the challenges it brings.”
Cuvelier shares a new curriculum development at Notre Dame:
“We purchased and adopted a new literacy series for grades 3-6 called ReadyGen literacy series. We’re excited because it continues the excellent literacy practices developed from the SuperKids program that we adopted last year for grades K-2.”
Cuvelier is pleased Schatz will mentor her in the position as school principal.
“Wendy will work with me one day a week to serve as my mentor. She has also graciously offered to continue to play piano at all of our school Masses and is willing to work above and beyond to allow the transition to go smoothly,” Cuvelier said.
As for the students, Cuvelier said Notre Dame Elementary exemplifies a caring community:
“They are the best kids; they are caring, compassionate and loving students. I’ve never met a greater community of students and staff that care for one another,” she said.
It is that sense of community and caring Cuvelier wishes to continue to nurture as principal of Notre Dame Elementary:
“As an educational leader at Notre Dame, I’m looking forward to spending time in the classrooms, spending time with the students, and fostering strong relationships and connection with students and staff. I plan to lead by example, and continue to build our caring community at Notre Dame.”
Cuvelier invites the public to contact her via e-mail at: or by phone at: 563-547-4513. Phones are answered at Notre Dame Elementary from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Friday.

Cresco Times

Phone: 563-547-3601
Fax: 563-547-4602

Cresco TPD
214 N. Elm Street
Cresco, IA 52136

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