Staff Member: Ruth Hittel
My name is Ruth Hittel. I am honored to join the St Michael Parish and school community as principal. My husband Charles and I have four children and eight grandchildren. When I introduce myself to people I tell them I am the proud mother of 250 children. I treat each of the children in my care as one of my own. I consider each child to be a beautiful gift from God who deserves to be challenged to reach his or her highest potential in faith, academics and in life.
My journey in Catholic education began as a kindergarten student at Sacred Heart Catholic School in Indianapolis where Sisters of St. Joseph taught me about work ethic and about the Catholic faith. As an adult, I took a detour away from education and worked in restaurant management for many years. My favorite part of my job was training and counseling employees. This knowledge kept me searching for a way to return to formal education. I received my bachelor's degree in Education from IUPUI and began work at St. Barnabas Catholic School. I knew my journey had finally brought me to my roots in Catholic Education. While teaching at St. Barnabas I worked with fourth grade students in a self-contained classroom where I prepared standards based lessons, worked with highly motivated students, and taught religion. Responding to the needs of the school I began teaching middle school Math and became the technology coordinator. Continuing my journey at St. Barnabas led me to become the master teacher where I began to lead the teachers to strengthen teaching and enhance learning in the classroom. While teaching at St. Barnabas I continued my personal educational journey by completing my master’s degree in education at IUPUI.
Soon after completing this degree I felt a strong pull to leadership. I applied and was accepted to the Notre Dame ACE Remmick Leadership program. Spending two summers at Notre Dame was an inspiration in faith and education. Being challenged by faith-filled high quality professionals was inspiring. I too, wanted to lead my staff and students with the same faithfilled high quality goals that I found at Notre Dame. The next stage of my journey led me to become the principal of St. Andrew St. Rita Catholic School part of the newly formed Mother Theodore Catholic Academies, MTCA. As the principal of St. Andrew St Rita, the challenge of raising enrollment and academics while developing a strong Catholic identity was ever present. Answering the needs of the MTCA took me on a journey that led me to become principal of a second school, Central Catholic. My time was split between the two schools. I continued to work on enrollment, Catholic identity and challenging academics for the schools. Once this initiative came to an end I became principal of Holy Cross Central School. My first year as principal at Holy Cross we had 150 students. The enrollment had declined for many years. Adding 100 students over the next several years stabilized the school community. During this time, there was change in demographics. This change added to the challenges of Catholic identity and student achievement. Over 50% of the students were non-Catholic and many children were two or more years behind grade level. Strengthening the Catholic identity by
adding Eucharistic Adoration, the Living Rosary, Our Lady of Guadalupe celebration and morning prayer with staff helped to model expectations in our Catholic school. I have been privileged to be part of more than 80 children choosing to become Catholic. Adding an English as a new language program, a three-year-old preschool program, weekly professional learning communities for staff, tutoring students and introducing the NWEA Map assessment are some of the ways I took on the academic challenges.
My journey in Catholic education has led me to St. Michael. I commit to the challenge of ensuring that Catholic identity of the students, staff and school are an example for all. I further commit to ensuring that high academic standards are in place, to meeting the needs of the students by working with the teachers and parents to set goals our students. I hope you will walk with me on this journey of faith and academics, and help me to carry on the work of our master teacher, Jesus Christ.