Cathy is a gifted teacher, successful small-business owner, and grandmother. As a 37-year resident of Michigan’s 3rd District, Cathy has made it her life’s work to fight for the health and education of our nation’s children. Cathy lives in Middleville with her husband of 41 years Rick Albro, Davenport University’s Women’s Basketball Coach. Cathy has served thousands of families in the West Michigan community through her work as a public school educator and owner of two small businesses.
Cathy’s commitment to equity stems from her Catholic upbringing and experience in high school working with abused and neglected children. She got her start in 10th grade organizing a walkout at her high school for girls to wear pants to school. She won that fight and will win for us.
Cathy has been a teacher from the beginning of her career, teaching first grade in rural Marlette, Michigan. She later taught in East Grand Rapids and served as director of Woodcliff’s Early Childhood Center. Her gifts continue to be recognized nationally as Cathy became an endorsed trainer for the HighScope Educational Research Foundation. At HighScope she continued her passion for equity in education: working with teachers across the United States from a coal-mining Virginia town to a segregated Mississippi school-district to the Navajo communities of the southwest. Cathy served as board member of the East Paris business association and as advisor for the founding of the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum, serving on its programming committee for over twelve years.
Working to find an accessible childcare solution for her daughter Tiffany, Cathy founded the Creative Learning Center to serve both her family and the Grand Rapids community. This center made high-quality child care a reality. It was one of the first in the country to be accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children, where Cathy served as West Michigan’s affiliate president. Cathy understands high-quality childcare comes at a price most parents cannot afford. She helped solve this problem by opening a child-centered educational retail store: Creative Learning Toys. A portion of the profits earned here allowed Cathy to subsidize child care for low-income families.
Like all small business owners, Cathy was dependent on her weekly sales income and handled the stress and uncertainty of making her next payroll. As the manager of 70 employees, Cathy prioritized providing a living wage for her employees over her personal income. She ran these two businesses in a socially responsible manner, making decisions to maximize their positive impact on the local community. Cathy’s 30-years of experience successfully running her businesses lays the foundation for her work as a Congresswoman, making sound decisions for our country.
Cathy is no stranger to adversity. She and her husband suffered the impacts of the Great Recession. While Wall Street executives walked away safe and financially secure, Cathy—along with most of the U.S.—saw her hard work evaporate as her property values plummeted. By 2010, she had lost the rental income from her two recently out-of-business tenants and owed more to the bank than her three properties were worth. The fruits of Cathy’s 30 years of hard work vanished as she had to liquidate her store, forfeit all her properties, and lose her home—moving into a $5,000 mobile home in Rockford.
But Cathy is resilient and in the last 8 years, she has recovered. Cathy’s recent work has focused around strengthening equity in education. Most recently, as Highscope’s Director of Elementary Education, Cathy served in Flint, where she provided teachers evidence-based strategies to engage students of color: highlighting African American history, culture, and literature.
Cathy is committed to using her decision-making skills built over her 50-year career in business and education to navigate the difficult choices facing members of Congress. She is committed to transparently communicating how she decides: openly sharing her thought process and stance on the issues as she represents YOU and the people of Michigan’s 3rd District. The time for civility and grown-up problem-solving in the federal government is NOW. Cathy is ready to roll up her sleeves and get to work building the social movement towards civility, respect, and a balance of power in our beloved country.
Cathy holds bachelor degrees from Michigan State University in Elementary Education and Child Development and completed graduate coursework in Elementary Curriculum Development also at Michigan State University. Cathy spends her spare time as a small-scale fruit farmer: preparing the soil, practicing permaculture, and is expecting her first crop this year. Cathy is the eldest of 8 siblings, the proud mother of two accomplished adult daughters, Tiffany and Alison, and grandmother to Logan and Peyton.