As he preps for his second year as Huntington High School’s principal, Brenden Cusack is already winning awards. The veteran educator was honored by Young Leaders at the youth development organization’s annual dinner at Crestwood Manor in Northport last week.
Mr. Cusack was recognized for his commitment to the young people of Huntington. Joining him were fellow honorees Andre Sorrentino of PAS Auto Collision, Debbie Rimler and Linda Leake of Tri-CYA and Kim Gaines Gambino of Helping Hand Rescue Mission.
Principal of Huntington High School since July 1, 2015, Mr. Cusack earned a Bachelor of Arts in education at SUNY New Paltz in 1995 and a Master of Science in adolescent education/English 7-12 at CUNY Queens College in 2002. He obtained a professional diploma in school administration and supervision at CUNY-Queens College in 2005.
Prior to being named principal, Mr. Cusack served as Huntington High School’s assistant principal for three years. He earlier worked as assistant principal at Hicksville High School for three years. Prior to that post, he was an administrative dean at Walt Whitman High School for four years.
Mr. Cusack was an English teacher at Freeport High School for eight years, where he taught Advanced Placement literature and theatre arts, served as a class advisor for four years, chaired the Middle States Committee on Educational Programs and produced school plays.
Joining Mr. Cusack at last week’s dinner were members of his family, including his wife, two sons and parents. He briefly addressed the crowd, acknowledging the help he receives daily from Assistant Principals Gamal Smith and Joseph DiTroia, Deans Paul Caleca, Robert Gilmor III and Ronald Wilson, faculty and staff members and the students themselves.
“The Young Leaders are a wonderful and influential group of young men and women who serve as outstanding role models for the youth of Huntington,” Mr. Cusack said. “To be recognized by them, alongside such caring and dedicated individuals is truly a great honor. I feel very blessed to work with these young people each day. They are the ones who drive us all to work to continuously improve our school and community. The banquet was an excellent opportunity to connect with family and friends during the summer. Hearing the other honorees’ stories of influence invigorated me to try to do more for our kids in the year ahead. I am grateful for the experience.”
This marked the eighth year that Young Leaders has held a summer awards dinner. The organization was founded by Mr. Wilson, Kevin Thorbourne and Kevin Zaharios.
Mr. Cusack has worked closely with Young Leaders on a number of initiatives and he has encouraged Huntington students to participate in the organization’s program of activities.
“I have had the privilege of knowing Brenden and witnessing his educational talents for more than a decade,” Huntington Superintendent James W. Polansky said. “I have always been confident that he possessed the tools that would make him an outstanding principal. His intelligence, compassion and patience are on display continuously, as is the pride he takes in being a Blue Devil.”
The awards dinner audience also included Huntington School Board members Thomas DiGiacomo, Emily Rogan and Xavier Palacios, Town Councilwoman Susan Berland and Suffolk County Legislator William Spencer.
Mr. Thorbourne explained that the members of Young Leaders themselves voted on who to honor at this year’s awards dinner and they wanted to recognize Mr. Cusack’s daily efforts on their behalf.
“There is no more valued honor for a principal, or any educator for that matter, than one bestowed by his students,” Mr. Polansky said. “His students perceive how much he genuinely cares about and appreciates them as individuals and his desire to make their high school experience as great as it can be. “It has been and continues to be a pleasure for me to work with him.”