The South Huntington community is remembering the life and legacy of former School Board President James (Jim) Kaden. For more than two decades, he served on the South Huntington Board of Education, first as a trustee, and then as board president. Jim passed away on September 12th at the age of 67.
Jim was first elected to the South Huntington Board of Education in 1993. In 1997, he became board president and remained in that role for 20 years though 2017. Following his retirement, he continued his service to South Huntington through membership on the district’s Audit Committee. Jim was an expert in school governance, finance and management and was often called upon by educational leaders and elected officials to provide advice and guidance. On September 13, 2017, the South Huntington School Board honored Jim by dedicating the district’s administrative offices in his name.
Current School Board President, Nicholas Ciappetta, said, "I am devastated to learn of Jim's passing. Jim was a mentor, friend and father-like figure for over 20 years. As a young school board member he welcomed me with open arms. We spent countless hours laughing, debating and enjoying each other's company at school board meetings, conventions and at each other's homes. I was serving as Vice President in 2017 when Jim passed me the gavel, both literally and figuratively. Since his retirement from South Huntington, he has continued to be a mentor, both personally and professionally. It was an honor to learn of school board governance at his side, but more important was the honor of having him in my life."
Superintendent Dr. Vito D’Elia is also remembering Jim Kaden as a man respected for his vast knowledge of education that he eagerly shared with his colleagues. "Mr. Kaden was a tremendous leader and advocate for the South Huntington school community. His decision-making was always led by providing students with the best possible public school experience. Professionally, his wealth of knowledge about the issues of education, shared in many discussions, has made me a better superintendent. I am forever grateful to have known him, and for the legacy he has left behind for generations of South Huntington students,” said Dr. D’Elia.
Deputy Superintendent and Interim Walt Whitman Principal John Murphy added, “I am truly saddened by the passing of Mr. Kaden. Being able to spend the last 10 years within the South Huntington school district, working with Jim Kaden, has been one of the highlights of my career. His mentorship, vision and support has allowed me to grow both personally and professionally. I am truly honored to have been able to know a man who devoted his entire life to the betterment of this district and students, sharing his extensive knowledge of the district and community, always balancing what is best for our students. His deeds will be remembered for generations of wildcats to come.”
Jim was also an active PTA and Booster Club member. In addition to his service in South Huntington, Jim was dedicated to community service. He was a member and chair of the Board of Directors for the Town of Huntington’s Economic Development Corporation, a not-for-profit corporation that fosters economic development and business opportunities throughout the town. He joined the Nassau-Suffolk School Board Association’s Executive Committee in July of 1996, and served as the Association’s President from 2007-2009. Considered a leader amongst his peers, he was awarded the Nassau-Suffolk School Board Association’s Distinguished Service Award in 2004, Champion for Long Island Education Award in 2009, and Dedicated School Board Service Award in 2017. The New York State School Board Association named him their Advocate of the Year in March of 2012 and in 2023 he received SCOPE’s School Board Service Award. He was nominated by his South Huntington School Board colleagues for a seat on the WSBOCES Board of Education in February of 2020 where he was currently serving his second term.
Jim earned his bachelor’s degree in Physics from SUNY Oswego in 1978, where he met his wife, Debbie. Together they raised two sons who went on to graduate from Walt Whitman High School. Billy graduated in 1999 and Jimmy in 2007, both entering the field of education. Jim’s degree in Physics led him to a 41 year career with Lockheed Martin, culminating in the position of Chief Engineer. Soon after he retired, he returned part-time as a contracted employee.
Jim will be greatly missed, but the impact he made on public education will live on, benefiting generations of children to come.
Arrangements for our dear friend Jim can be found below:
Thursday, September 14, 2023
5:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m.
Friday, September 15, 2023
2:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m. & 7:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m.
A.L. Jacobsen Funeral Home, Inc.
1380 New York Avenue
Huntington Station, NY 11746
Saturday, September 16, 2023
St. Patrick R.C. Church
400 West Main Street
Huntington, NY 11743