Standing Bear High School Principal finds niche in education

Some may say education chose Sue Cassata before she chose it. 

“I will be honest, I fell into this,” she said. 

Similar to several first-year college students, Cassata didn’t know what she wanted to major in at Nebraska Wesleyan University. Then, she enrolled in an education class, which changed her career trajectory. She said that’s when she found her niche, but it wasn’t until she became a student teacher that she knew this was the path for her. 

“I loved the energy of the classroom. I loved the relationship with the students,” Cassata said. 

Cassata has now been an educator for 30 years with half of them as a principal. Cassata did a stint at Doane University in its Educational Leadership Program but missed working in a high school too much and came back to Lincoln Public Schools after two years. 

“My life makes sense in 50-minute increments,” she joked. 

The longtime educator describes herself as a servant leader. Cassata serves by offering her staff opportunities to grow and best support students, families and themselves. 

“I create space for others to thrive,” Cassata said. “I am the first one willing to do something that others need to have done. I am willing to do whatever is necessary so that learning can occur.” 

Most recently, Cassata was given the unique opportunity to open Lincoln’s newest high school as principal. The educator who doesn’t shy away from challenges graciously stepped into the role at Standing Bear High School.  

“I get to think about everything that is possible about school and then work with others to make things happen,” she said.  “Also completely overwhelming as well. I thought I knew a lot about schools, but I realize that there is so much to learn!”

What’s one of the greatest lessons she’s learned so far in this endeavor?  The importance of partnership. Opening Standing Bear High School has given her a unique opportunity to collaborate with the Ponca Tribe and other Native community leaders. 

 “So that as we open a school, named for Standing Bear, we think not only about his life and legacy but also the future stories of the Native Nations and Tribes of Nebraska,” Cassata added.  

Standing Bear High School’s principal has spent most of her career at LPS – 28 years to be exact.  Cassata’s passion for LPS’ mission and her love for students keep her coming back. 

“I believe in the work that LPS does for students.  I love that each program and area is passionate about serving students and families,” she said. “I love the people I get to interact with, learn from and partner with. Oh, I love adolescents. I find them quite entertaining.”

Published: November 17, 2022, Updated: November 17, 2022

Standing Bear Principal Sue Cassata helping with lunch duty at Mickle.