Interview with New Superintendent, Dr.Cascone

Kiley Capstraw, In our School/In our Town editor

How was your summer? Did you go on any vacations or prepare for this upcoming school year? 

Summer was busy, with not much vacationing, my main priority was spending time here in West Orange to learn more about the town. However, we did take a short family trip to Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. 

Would you like to share anything about your family? Any children? 

I have been married for 20 years, and have three daughters, two in high school and one in middle school.

How is West Orange treating you? Have you learned your way around? 

I love it! I have been impressed by the students, teachers, faculty, and administrators. Their welcomeness, politeness and courtesy was unimaginable. I also received an amazing welcome from town partners and businesses. 

What do you like to do in your free time? Hobbies? Sports? Activities? 

I enjoy playing and watching soccer. Also, spending quality time with my family. 

I hear that you coached soccer in your past, where did you coach? Did you play?

Soccer is my sport, however, I made the decision not to play in college. I wanted to focus on school for academic reasons. I coached boys varsity for four years and girls varsity for one year. 

Where did you attend college?

I attended undergrad at George Washington University in Washington, DC, where I received my Bachelor of Arts in International Affairs and Minors in Latin American Studies and English. I attended Fairleigh Dickinson University where I received my Masters of Arts in Teaching and Second Language Acquisition. I also received my doctorate at Seton Hall University. 

What differences do you want to make in West Orange? How do you think you will achieve these goals?

I think that there is a lot of what the school district should be already. Now, it is a matter of taking what is already happening and elevating it to another level. The way we make that happen is in Central Office, creating efficient and effective jobs to make people’s lives easier. I want to create an exciting environment where people are excited to go to work. There are still pockets that we need to get to. We want to be an example not only for West Orange, but for society.

Did anything stick out to you in West Orange compared to the other districts? If so, what stuck out to you? 

I have to say that I have never worked in a district that has such diversity. There is socioeconomic diversity, racial diversity, and religious diversity. I truly have never experienced a district like West Orange. 

What might you consider your greatest achievement in life? Personally and Professionally.

Personal: My greatest personal achievement has to be the ongoing process of being a parent creating life and having the privilege of raising kids and being a father. Also, being a role model for my daughters. 

Professional: I would have to say being hired as a superintendent of West Orange Schools is my biggest professional achievement. 

 Where do you think you may have the most challenges in trying to rebuild the West Orange education? Have you thought of any strategies to help make the process easier?

The financial system to me is a great challenge. We carry expenses that evolved during a very different economic time. The financial legislation has changed, the number of staff, what we offer. There is less money to work with now. I ask the question: How do you maintain and improve programs?

Why do you think it is important for the students to know that you are involved with more than the educational side of things?

I think it is about building relationships. We are not always going to agree, but when we disagree what enables us to do that civilly is the underlying relationship that we had already built. Whether it is with the students, student-athletes, teachers and faculty, I always want to support the cause and represent West Orange.

Mr. Moore (WOHS principal) on Dr. Cascone: 

I’m very honored to work with and under him. Dr. Cascone has really brought forth a sense of a human touch to everything that we do. His tone gave the administration more of a social and emotional understanding which we are trickling down to our staff and students. It is the tone of, “WE CARE” and I think that makes us special. With this being done, it has set a positive environment for teachers and students.