End of an Era

A longtime, beloved, Cathedral educator will retire at the end of the year.


Kathy McCullough receives a special drum from Chris Forsythe, Cathedral’s Music Travel Tour Guide on their recent trip to Ireland.

Mrs. Kathy McCullough, the band director and one of the math aids here on the hill, is ending her 26 year long journey at Cathedral after the 2023 school year. 26 years is an extremely long time to spend anywhere, but McCullough chose Cathedral. 

Cathedral offered her two things she loved, band and math, which she gets to do both everyday. Mrs McCullough spends her time on The Hill directing the band, and spending time helping kids in the math resource room. When in the math room, she mostly helps the freshmen, as her strong suit is Algebra 1.  

I love to hear about their successes beyond Cathedral. They tell me when they get married and so forth.

— Kathy McCullough

McCullough explains how she really “lucked out” when it came to who she was surrounded with during her time on the Hill. She said that the administration, parents, constant support, and of course all of the members of the band are what kept her at Cathedral for so long. 

“Mrs McCullough fosters an environment where everyone can grow no matter what skill set they are,” Senior band manager, Caroline Keltner noted. Mrs. Kathy McCullough makes an effort to know each and every member of the band.

Senior Charlotte Thompson says,  “By the end of day two at band camp, she would know everyone by name.”

McCullough is not just a teacher. To many she is also a friend, and to some, she feels like family. McCullough is known to be an incredibly supportive, thoughtful, caring, hard working woman. Keltner explains that “she is the perfect balance between teacher and friend.” Mrs. McCullough truly cares about each and every one of her students. 

McCullough is understanding and knows that in a teen’s high school life, there can be much more going on under the surface. She is willing to lend a helping hand to anyone and always offers her support. She understands that high schoolers have many other commitments and makes “band accessible to absolutely anyone, including all extracurricular activities. Anyone can do it,” Keltner says. 

With being on The Hill for 26 great years, Mrs. McCullough has seen a lot. Not only has she been through two whole decades of change at Cathedral, but she experienced the extreme difficulties from the Covid 19 Virus. She had to learn and adapt to the challenges brought by the virus, such as going online, wearing masks, and social distancing, “Well, of course, Covid was awful.  We couldn’t rehearse at all.  We did listening assignments (via zoom) and did a few playing online tests. Two interesting things we did (assisted by my computer-smart son) were, the kids (and I) hung in there and managed to make it through those times.  We had to cancel our Hawaii trip and ‘morph’ it into a Disney World/Universal trip the following year.” The band made it through and came back stronger than ever. 

Kathy McCullough poses with the rest of the band on their most recent trip to Ireland.

A lot of change came with McCullough’s arrival. She explained how “most rehearsal times are different now, as we used to rehearse everyday before school.” She also said that since they now have less rehearsal time, and do not compete as much. The band participates in a lot more varied curriculum thanks to Mrs. McCullough. 

She accomplished so much during her time on the Hill. Some of her favorite moments would undoubtedly be the band trips. No matter the size of the trip, they always stood out to her. The band has been to many awesome places. Their destinations ranged from different colleges, and cities like Nashville and Chicago. They also have been to places like Hawaii, and most recently, Dublin, Ireland. These trips always stand out because when going places outside the norm, the band really starts “showing the family aspect that Cathedral often portrays,” she said. 

She explained how one of her favorite things about The Cathedral band program is how “everyone does everything”. She refers to the different styles of band they do. She said how “having the kids in essentially three bands, gives them more of an option when it comes to moving forward.” In other schools, you pick and choose while in high school, but at Cathedral, it’s all done together.

Overall, the constant success and dedication stands out to her. She appreciates how everyone makes an effort to stay in touch with her even after graduation. “I love to hear about their successes beyond Cathedral. They tell me when they get married and so forth.” Mrs. McCullough makes a lasting impression on all of her students as they love to keep her in the loop. 

McCullough is a dedicated, caring and passionate teacher who spent two whole decades doing two things she loved. She made an incredible impact on everyone she met. Her hard work will always be appreciated. Cathedral applauds her for her work and wishes her the best as she retires this spring.