MIAMI COUNTY — The last three years at St. Patrick School in Troy and the former Piqua Catholic School building in Piqua has seen a few changes.
This past spring, the preschool/prekindergarten classes at both schools merged as The Center for Early Learning, offering a Troy campus at St. Patrick School and a Piqua campus at 218 S. Downing St.
In addition to the merge, another change came with Erin Grant joining the two schools as the director of The Center for Early Learning.
Grant grew up in Troy and attended school at St. Patrick, which she said she loved. Once she graduated high school and went to college, she took a job in Chicago as a preschool teacher.
After six years of living and working in Chicago, Grant decided to take some time off to travel and decide on the next transition.
“I was thinking of moving home for awhile,” she said. “About a year ago I decided to take some time off and traveled to Europe, where I stayed for six months. When I got home in February I went back to Chicago and put my feelers out to see if there was anything here.”
She learned about the director’s position through word of mouth and decided to pursue it. Moving home was a bit of an adjustment, since Grant had gotten used to living in Chicago and taking public transit.
“Moving from a city to a smaller town has a lot of differences, but since I’m from here and would visit, it wasn’t a huge adjustment or bad,” she said.
Now that she has gotten settled in, Grant’s life as a director is a busy one.
“There’s a lot to do and since I’m new, every day is a learning day,” she said. “I wear many hats and for the most part I typically go to St. Pat’s in the morning and come back here (to Piqua) in the afternoon.”
She goes into classrooms to help teachers out with the students and takes care of administrative paperwork. Because of licensing, Grant said there has to be two people in the building at all times, so she and another teacher have to be present.
“Sometimes I’ll hang out in the classroom,” she said. “During Pope week, I taught the little kids about who the pope is and how we could do something that reflects his message. We can’t really do a lot at this age, like taking the kids to a soup kitchen, but we can help them learn about him.”
While the role is new, Grant said she saw a lot of growth potential for both herself and the schools.
“I stepped into it at a really good time,” she said. “Both schools have been really strong, and I have been blessed to come into the schools in a really strong space. This is my first directing position, and so I’m literally learning something new every day but it’s my 100 percent passion. It’s been my passion for a long time.”
She credited the team of teachers in both Troy and Piqua for supporting her in her new role and helping her where need be.
“It sometimes can get overwhelming, such as who do I call at the state or county level if I need something?” she said. “Cyndi Cathcart has been a tremendous mentor, and I think she is a really good leader at St. Patrick School. I think she has been a great principal and she’s really proactive. She’s started the junior high program and makes sure the students are really involved and has been a really great help with me for a lot of stuff.”
For more information, contact Grant at (937) 773-3876.