Partnership for After School Education


Katha Cato joined Henry Street over 17 years ago as part of the Abrons Arts Center teaching faculty. At that time, Mrs. Cato had been a step- mother for a little over 3 years and wanted to become immersed in youth programming to better understand her new role. With a Masters in Fine Arts from University of Oregon, Katha found an excellent fit in the Drama Department as both a teacher and as the resident Stage Manager for the Urban Youth Theatre productions.

In her first years with the Agency, she directed the Young Playwrights Program which nurtured youth through the playwriting and production process. Their first production, "What's So Hard About Growing Up Girl?", a series of 5 one-acts written and produced by HSS youth was included in the first NY Fringe Festival and under her guidance the entire production was youth driven - both on and off stage. After 5 years in the Drama Department at the Arts Center, Katha moved over to their Gallery Education Department as the Arts-in-Education Coordinator and became responsible for designing and implementing school based arts programming for grades K - 12. In her 7 years in that position, the program grew to include 125 schools, employing 65 teaching artists and producing 40 - 50 student work exhibits and performances a year including 2 performances at the Apollo Theatre, 2 performances at the Public Theatre and 10 PSA's aired on cable television.

When the Agency decided to pursue a 21st Century Community Learning Grant, Mrs. Cato was part of the writing team and when the grant was awarded, she applied for and became the director. In the following 11 years, Mrs. Cato and the After-School Leadership Team have built a solid after-school program that spans 6 sites and a Summer Camp that includes three sites. Mrs. Cato was one of 6 after-school practitioners honored by the NY State Education Department for her "Exemplary Service in After-School Programming". She also holds a New York State School-Age Child Care Credential and has been asked to serve on the NY City assessment team for the credential. Recently she presented at the NAA conference in Washington DC.