Central Community Center aquatics coordinator takes on new position

Cathy Taylor creates an environment for growth, learning


Molly Schochet

Swim Instructor and Aquatics Director at the Central Community Center Cathy Taylor helps a student dive into the pool. Taylor recently became a contracted employee after working at Park for 30 years.

Kate Schneider

According to Cathy Taylor, aquatics coordinator at the Central Community Center, she started working as an instructor after college when her old swim coach convinced her. She later took on another set of responsibilities but still enjoys teaching some lessons. 

“I set up all the lessons, hire the teachers, put stuff into the catalogs and online. I have been teaching here since probably 1989. Shelley Nielsen, who was principal at Peter Hobart, was my swim coach in high school,” Taylor said. “Then when I was in college, she wanted someone to fill a teaching position so she asked me if I wanted to teach swim lessons. Then later, the coordinator who was my boss retired and so I took her position.”

Sophomore Ada Turman said she works as a swim instructor at the Central Community Center and feels that Taylor creates a community that is very welcoming while still making sure everything runs smoothly.

“She isn’t relaxed about deadlines, but the overall work environment is relaxed and I don’t feel stressed out working there,” Turman said.

According to Taylor, after working there for around 30 years, she needed some benefits, so she was given a position as a contracted employee with the same responsibilities.

“It came to a point where I needed health insurance so they made me a contract employee. The things I was doing (would) be the same,” Taylor said. “Now, I don’t have to fill out my timesheet every week, I just have to work those numbers of hours which is what I’ve been doing for the last 15 years.”

Junior Esther Putzier said Taylor has made working at Central a positive experience by making sure her employees are no stressed.

“It’s a calm work environment, she’s really good at handling everything well and not stressing us out,” Putzier said.

Taylor said because she has been at Central for so long, she is teaching former students’ children and is happy to see people choosing to stay in St. Louis Park because of the welcoming community.

“I’m now teaching (the) second generation, I taught their parents and now I’m teaching their kids so I like that a lot of people stay in St. Louis Park. The people are really nice and my coworkers here and everyone else seems to work really well together. It’s a great community, the kids are great, you get a little bit of diversity so I learn about different cultures,” Taylor said.

According to Turman, she teaches at Central because Taylor used to be her teacher and the workplace created by Taylor has helped her learn and teach important life skills.

“I’ve known her for a really long time, I actually took swim lessons with her when I was little, I’ve kept in touch with her. She’s very kind and we have a really good work environment so it’s very beneficial for me to work there,” Turman said. “It teaches me a lot of skills about caring for other

s and water safety, which I feel are really important.”

Taylor said she feels as though her contribution is being recognized and rewarded through new benefits, such as paid time off and health insurance.

“I’ll get some health insurance and I’ll get a few days of vacation. That’ll be nice, I’ve never had paid vacation before. If I needed to go on a vacation, I just had to not work those days and not get paid so that’s a nice boost for me,” Taylor said. “After teaching here for so long, (I’m glad) they’re recognizing that I’m a valued employee.”