HBT Principal James Kassebaum Named Administrator of the Year

HBT Principal James Kassebaum Named Administrator of the Year photo
Congratulations to Harry B. Thompson Middle School Principal James Kassebaum, who was recently named Administrator of the Year by the Empire State Supervisors & Administrators Association’s Region 1– Council of Administrators and Supervisors. Region 1 is comprised of public school districts in Nassau and Suffolk counties, and CAS is represented by more than 1,500 public school administrators. 

Kassebaum, who is completing his 41st year in education, has served the students at H.B. Thompson for 24 years, the last 16 as principal. He announced his retirement earlier this spring.

“Under your stewardship, Thompson Middle School has achieved and maintained a well-deserved reputation as one of New York State’s highest-performing middle schools,” wrote CAS President Albert Voorneveld in his letter to Kassebaum, who noted his career involvement as a leader among Syosset principals and his active leadership roles with CAS and ESSAA, as well as with the Nassau County Middle Level Principals’ Association. 

“I appreciate the recognition and am very humbled by this,” said Kassebaum, who plans to continue working with aspiring administrators. “There are many less experienced educators who are advancing in their careers and moving into administrator roles, and the challenges new administrators face have changed and increased through the years.”

“Jim Kassebaum has worked tirelessly for the students of Syosset as both assistant principal and principal for the last 24 years,” said HBT Assistant Principal Kevin Bonnano, who has worked with Kassebaum as an administrative assistant and assistant principal for 12 years. “He has dedicated himself to leading a program that provides students with the best academic, social and emotional learning opportunities. He’s guided his staff through many changes in the educational landscape, always with the goal of making sure each student had an opportunity to reach their potential. We’ll all miss Jim’s passion and dedication.”

Looking back on his years at HBT, Kassebaum takes great satisfaction from the growth of his staff through the years. “Our staff has always had that day-to-day energy and work ethic to place our students in the best position to grow and succeed. We have also been fortunate to have a tremendous amount of support from the community, central office and our Board of Education, which has helped us to stay ahead of the game in educating our children.”

Kassebaum also takes great pride in the growth of his students, a part of the job he will really miss. “Kids like to come back and visit and they always talk about their experiences here. I’m very proud to have been a part of their development as sixth-graders transitioning into a new school and guiding them onto the next chapter in their lives. Working with adolescents has kept me young at heart.”

In addition to continuing his work mentoring young administrators, Kassebaum looks forward to spending new-found time on some of the things he enjoys, including boating, hiking, and baseball umpiring, and perhaps a trip to a seat at the top of the Green Monster at Fenway Park in Boston,  while also tending to projects around the house. He leaves with a great sense of accomplishment and confidence in the future that lies ahead.

“I’m turning over the keys … but the building and our wonderful programs are in great hands.”