“I love being a Catholic school principal and I love my faith.”
A native of Missouri and longtime Catholic school principal, Pierre “Nic” Antoine of Nashville began a new venture as he acquired leadership of the St. Louis Catholic School in Nokomis, starting in July.
“That school has been doing it right for over a century,” said Principal Antoine. “And so all I hope to do is to continue to strengthen that. Catholic education, quite frankly in this country, is in crisis.”
Antoine was born and raised in St. Louis, MO, and for the past two decades, he has been serving as a principal across the Midwest and east coast, including Illinois, Missouri, Wisconsin and Washington.
He earned his general education degree from Southeast Missouri State University, and took his first teaching position at a small Lutheran school in southwest Missouri.
“They’re the ones who encouraged me to go for my administration degree in education because they saw something in me,” he said. “And so as a Catholic, I learned so much about the Lutheran faith and to this day, I credit the Lutherans in Perry County for putting me on this path to Catholic education, which is wonderful.”
Antoine served as a teacher and volunteer coach at the small Lutheran institution, where he built a technology lab. He then began teaching technology courses to his students, and the lab eventually grew to accomodate adults.
The new St. Louis Catholic school principal returned to further his education, earning his administration degree in education from William Woods University in Fulton, MO.
“I took a long way around to end up in education. God always has a plan and this is where he’s wanted me and I’ve enjoyed it ever since,” he said. “And I’ve gotten way more out of it than I’ve probably given.”
His passion for teaching transformed into a great fervor for leadership. The shift in job description allows him to feel as though he’s serving the school as a whole.
“I’m a big proponent of getting out there and getting the children outside of the four walls of school to be stewards, but also to learn about life,” he said.
While the current enrollment for this year is 70 students, St. Louis Catholic School in Nokomis should have 170, he added. He credited the community for supporting the school, which celebrated its 100th year anniversary in 2017, and the church that celebrated 150 years this past year, however, he hopes to see an increase in numbers.
“That community is fabulous, it’s generous, it’s supportive. So many more children should be there, and usually it’s based on finances,” said Antoine. “The Nokomis Public School District, from what I’ve been told and what I’ve seen with their administration, is a well-performing public school, which isn’t always the case. So that’s a challenging thing for us, but my thing is to grow the brand of St. Louis Catholic School.”
Principal Antoine may have arrived just a few short months ago, but his dedication to his students, faculty and community has shone through his interactions with local residents of Montgomery County. He visited Fillmore, inquiring about what their residents are proud of, and learned about the churches. He said he looks forward to coordinating with other pastors and hopefully gain more students through a multi-community based effort.
“The faculty and staff that they have there are just absolutely fabulous. You have a great mix of youth and veteran leadership, and so when you put that together and then you add in enthusiastic priests and hopefully an enthusiastic principal, you’ve got a recipe for success.”
One item in particular that he is working on is expanding the pre-school program to five full days per week. Currently, the school offers the program three half-days per week.
He and his wife of over 25 years, Dana, reside in Nashville and share three daughters, Abigail, Grace and Olivia, who is a junior in high school this year. Following her graduation, the couple plan to relocate to the local area.
In his spare time, he enjoys writing–having authored two books–historical sports analysis, as well as statistical analysis and online gaming. He has even participated in some video gaming fun with a few of his Nokomis students.
“They really enjoy it and we have a fun time and everything. It’s just another way to kind of relate to them and share some experiences with them,” he added.
Antoine looks forward to further build relationships with his students, staff and community members, and hopes people of Montgomery County reach out and teach him about all it has to offer.
“All these small towns have a story and I would love to learn about them because I want our children to know about them and know that right in our own backyard, there’s so much history and success, and you know, things to learn about and be proud of,” he said.
For more information about St. Louis Catholic School in Nokomis, call 217-563-7445.