Exciting changes are in store at Cypress Bay High School this year, namely a new principal. After 20 years at the helm, Principal Scott Neely retired this past summer. Stepping into the leadership position is Kassandra Fried, who has served as Intern Principal for the past three years and worked at the school for 15 years in both teaching and administrative roles.
Fried says that her prior experience has prepared her for this new position. “I was lucky enough to work side by side one of the best principals in the state and learn from him every single day. Mr. Neely gave me numerous opportunities to handle almost every situation and gave me the added confidence to run this school. As an Intern Principal, I was able to train for this new position every day for the past three years. I am ready!”
Although confident, Friend acknowledges there will be challenges. “Working with almost 5,000 students and a staff of over 300 always has its challenges, however it is something that I am very familiar with and understand that no two students are alike, and our staff brings different strengths and qualities to their job. It will be important for me to try and give everyone the resources they need to do their very best every day.”
As a parent of four children and two stepchildren who have attended Cypress Bay, Fried brings a unique perspective to this administrative role. “As a parent, I can understand and relate to all of the excitement, opportunities and challenges that other parents feel as well.”
Fried says her top priorities as principal are security and safety, social and emotional well-being, ensuring a smooth transition to high school, and maintaining high academic standards.
Social and emotional education is one of her pet projects. During her time at Cypress Bay, Fried helped develop programs such as PASL (Personalization for Academic and Social and Emotional Learning), which focuses not only on making sure students are academically proficient, but ensuring their emotional needs are met and that the school is focused on their well-being to make them college, career and life ready.
“I want to make it a priority for our students to come to school and for those seven hours be able to focus on learning,” explains Fried. “That means trying to assist them as much as possible with good mental health and working through some of the other issues that are affecting them negatively. I want students to feel they can be the best version of themselves at Cypress Bay and feel good about themselves every day.”
Mr. Neely will work with Fried during the transition process. He feels confident he is leaving the Bay in good hands. “Her proficiency in four languages, building community relationships, academic instructional leadership, and strong rapport with students and parents make her the ideal candidate to lead the Bay.”