Huntington High School is set for a sensational year with a breathtaking lineup of classes, programs and activities and an electric atmosphere around the building.
Dozens of students ironed out wrinkles in their schedules last week as teachers filtered into the building to get their classrooms ready. Hallways were polished and the new auditorium air conditioning system was tested.
“I’m very excited about the upcoming school year and I’m proud to be entering my sixth year at Huntington High School,” Principal Brenden Cusack said. “The areas of focus for this year and beyond fall into three categories: equity, empathy and excellence. We continue to see our school taking strides toward excellence. Our school ratings on social media sites and in the press continue to climb; we remain in good standing with New York State and our graduates are moving on to some of the best institutions of higher learning in the country. Having said that, our focus will always be on continuous improvement of instruction and academic achievement for all of our students. As a school community, I believe we are increasingly cognizant of the fact that without the key components of equity and empathy, no school can reach excellence.”
Huntington High School’s principal 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. He 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.
Equity; empathy; excellence. Three words that the high school community will be hearing more about throughout the 2017/18 school year and beyond.
“We all face challenges and the obstacles each of us come up against are different from those of others,” Mr. Cusack said. “In essence, the idea of equity takes this into account. Equity is not the same as equality. It does not necessarily mean that everyone gets the same thing. Providing an environment of equity means giving people what they need, when they need it. Our goal will be to maintain high expectations for all of our students and to differentiate our approach to ensure that needs are met, whatever they may be.”
Huntington High School students will be cramming as much as they can into their nine period day. An impressive array of classes are available to every grade level. The final bell will see hundreds of teenagers heading off to dozens of extracurricular clubs and interscholastic sports teams along with community based internships.
“Our school climate is positive because we have amazing students, many of whom go above and beyond to help others,” Mr. Cusack said. “I have seen many instances where our entire school comes together in special ways to support and lift up one another. My goal is to build upon this climate, to capitalize on opportunities for our students to put forth acts of kindness and understanding and to remind all in our school community that a sense of empathy is essential in order for our school to continue on the path toward excellence.”