Weekly Feature

2014-01-23 / Front Page

CK-Central principal to retire at end of January


Susan Cain will officially retire from her position as principal of Cheektowaga Central High School on Thursday, Jan. 30. Susan Cain will officially retire from her position as principal of Cheektowaga Central High School on Thursday, Jan. 30. Susan Cain, Cheektowaga Central High School principal, will retire after 16 years spent as an educator and administrator in the Cheektowaga Central School District.

Cain said her last official day as principal will be Thursday, Jan. 30. Scott Zipp, assistant principal at the high school, will succeed Cain the following day.

“I feel very fortunate to have worked with Cheektowaga Central, and I think that it’s a good place. There’s a lot of good people there who really care about kids and want to make it the best place it can be for kids,” Cain said.

Cain, who is a resident of Buffalo, began her career as an educator with the Buffalo Public Schools and also taught at Erie Community College before coming to Cheektowaga Central.

In 1997, Cain was hired as a first-grade teacher at Union East Elementary School. After about five years of teaching, Cain earned an administrative degree and was asked to become the school’s assistant principal.

In 2005, Cain bridged buildings and became the assistant principal at the high school, only to take on the role of principal in 2007.

“I’ve seen lots of changes at the high school and lots of changes in the district,” said Cain, “And my time there was ... really, really productive personally and professionally.”

Cain said she feels she has much to be proud of regarding her time as principal at the high school, though she attributed the school’s successes to the group efforts and ongoing support of her colleagues: Zipp and Brian Hickson, dean of students.

“We kind of got to a place where we were all pretty much working for the same goals. We all had different strengths, but we were fortunate in that we all had the same values,” said Cain. “I think I was just the kind of person that was able to recognize the good that was at the high school and foster that.”

According to Cain, “We did whatever we could to help students become more successful.”

During Cain’s tenure, online programming for credit recovery was implemented, the school’s Health Care Academy was founded, and the Pine Hill Education Center became a place offering alternative education, among other environmental changes.

According to Cain, her administration also adjusted to changing demographics and income levels, and addressing student needs that extended beyond the classroom. She noted that the graduation rate last year was the highest she had seen at the high school as principal.

“I think any good high school is constantly looking for ways to improve,” said Cain, “Because your focus is the students. And if you can create an environment where students feel safe and feel appreciated and know that there’s people there that care about them and have their best interests at heart, you find that they respond much, much better to academics and all other things that go along with high school life.”

According to Cain, this is the legacy she hopes lingers with the high school upon her retirement.

“It’s a very rewarding profession,” Cain said. “I do believe that teaching and working in education — it’s more of an art than a science.”

Cain said her decision to retire was an organic one, which stemmed from a recognition of it being the right time.

“I think I just was confident that I was leaving it [the high school] in very good hands — and I could, so I did,” Cain said. “And I think everybody needs to know when it’s time for them to go. I had kind of brought the high school to where I think it was in a good place, so I made the decision to leave.”

Though, upon retiring, Cain plans on relaxing and visiting her sons who live out of town, she said she’s most going to miss being involved in the lives of students and working alongside a faculty whose genuine ambition is to help students.

“I’m going to miss being involved in something bigger than myself,” she said.

“Mr. Zipp’s going to be a great principal, and he’s going to continue to make things better for the kids at Cheektowaga Central,” Cain said. “It’s not perfect, but it’s a good school, and I would like to see that goodness be enhanced and even move to that next level.”

email: acelano@beenews.com

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