New Principal At Brick’s Emma Havens School

David Kasyan (Photo by Judy Smestad-Nunn)

BRICK – David Kasyan was named as the new principal of the district’s largest elementary school, Emma Havens Young, located at the western end of Drum Point Road.

Before he was hired in Brick, Kasyan – who was born and raised in Toms River and graduated from Toms River High School East – was the assistant principal at Crawford-Rodriguez Elementary School in Jackson.

“I’m excited this for the opportunity to be a leader at a greater level,” Kasyan said about his first placement as principal.

“On the first day of school, all the kids will see me. I will be outside, greeting them as the buses come in, which I’ll be doing every day,” he said from his office a few days before the school year began.

“I will be a highly visible administrator, I won’t be sitting behind a closed door,” he said.

Kasyan is a graduate of Lebanon College in Pennsylvania where he had dual majors in K-12 special education certification, and K-5 elementary education certification.

He was hired right out of college (for the only job in which he applied) by the Jackson school district, where he taught special education for five years to students of different instructional abilities, grade levels and classifications.

Kasyan earned his Master’s Degree at Georgian Court University in Administration and Leadership and he applied for assistant principal in Jackson when it became a district-posted position.

Kasyan said his vision for student learning is that he believes all students can learn to succeed.

“It’s our job as teachers and administrators to set up a structure and environment that is most conducive to student success. We must target each student individually, because every student has their own individual needs,” he said. “It is our job to present the content and engage the student.”

(Photo by Judy Smestad-Nunn)

Emma Havens Young Elementary School is one of the district elementary schools that house an ELL (English language learners) population. The school has about 750 students, of which some 30 to 40 are ELL students who come from homes of varying languages, which can present different barriers to learning, he said.

Asked what he believes his biggest challenge as principal would be, Kasyan said he prefers to view challenges as an opportunity for growth.

“Is there something inhibiting student success? Not just academics, but the whole child. Do they come from a home that lacks support? We need to problem-solve and take care of it immediately,” Kasyan said. “It’s not something I’m going to shy away from.”

He said his job as principal is to “facilitate in harmony” the three groups – parents, students and teachers – in order to achieve student success.

Gone are the days when teachers would stand in front of the classroom and lecture to students, he said. “The teacher-centered model has fallen to the wayside. Now there is a student-centered idea that students are actively engaged in the educational process.”

Kasyan met his high-school teacher wife while they were both teachers in Jackson. The couple has a 2-year-old daughter.

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Judy moved to Ocean County from New York City in 1988, and began her second career as a feature and news reporter in the mid-1990's. She has worked for Micromedia Publications since 2008, primarily reporting for The Toms River Times and The Brick Times. Judy has also worked for The Leader Review in Point Pleasant Beach, The Brick Communicator and The Asbury Park Press. Reach Judy by e-mail at [email protected]