Cassata announces new principal position at Lincoln’s Standing Bear High School


Photo by Cady Blackstock

Sue Cassata is the principal of Lincoln East. On February 25th, LPS announced a shift in positions. Cassata will be the principal of Lincoln’s new high school Standing Bear in 2023.

On February 25th, Lincoln Public Schools announced the most recent round of position shifts for the upcoming 2022-2023 school year. Along with the four new shifts in positions announced, Sue Cassata announced her shift from Lincoln East to Standing Bear as principal. Cassata was named Principal of the Year in 2020.

Cassata has been working at East for the last 14 years. She first started her career in 1991 as a social studies teacher at Southeast High School and left to become Associate Professor of Education at Doane College in 2004. Cassata has also been assistant principal at Northstar before working at East.

“I’m not sure I ever aspired to become a principal,” Cassata said. “My leadership transition started because I wanted to be a good teacher. I learned that I can develop an influence on students and other teachers.”

As Standing Bear will be opening in the 2023-2024 school year, Cassata will be on a mission to find the best staff to help lead this new school. Her mission includes collaborating with students, teachers, parents, and working with members of the Native American population of Lincoln.

“This school has a real opportunity to partner with the Ponca tribe in Nebraska,” Sue Cassata said. “They have an unknown story and I want to represent Standing Bear’s legacy.”

Her goal is to create a collaborative relationship within the staff but also with students. Passing on positive, powerful learning environments and lessons is something Cassata sees at Lincoln East.

“We are continuing to build upon student advocacy and voice at East,” Cassata said. “We are building that capacity amongst the different leadership in different organizations. I would hope to create that from the start at Standing Bear.”

Besides the chance to build the culture of a smaller and new school, Cassata’s interest and knowledge about Standing Bear High School stems from when she was in college at Wesleyan. She worked for the History Department and partook in researching and learning about the Genoa tribe and the Native American schools in Genoa, Nebraska.

“It began a period of learning for me,” Cassata said. “I’ve always been curious about Nebraska and its history, especially the history before European descendants.”

On March 11th, LPS released who would be taking Cassata’s spot as principal. Lincoln East’s new principal for the 2022-2023 school year is East’s associate principal Casey Fries. As the school year ends in the next few months, one of the things Cassata will miss from East is the students as she won’t be working with students for the next year like she has been in the past.

“Lincoln East students are an amazing group,” Cassata said. “My life is better because [the students] are in it.”