by Christina Chetram and Sydney Perez
Since her entrance into the 2020 school year at West Broward, the administrative team has begun to describe Assistant Principal Casey Pacella as dedicated, authentic and enthusiastic. The new assistant principal has already built a strong relationship with parents and students and has shown a growing passion for the school. Although she has only been a Bobcat for a few months, Pacella is working hard to make this school year the best and safest that it can possibly be, despite the multitude of this year’s challenges.
Pacella recently joined the Bobcat family as West Broward’s new ninth grade assistant principal. Since her first day at West Broward, she was immediately appreciated by her fellow administrators for dedication to the school and her strong work ethic. She cares about creating strong relationships between the staff and students, bringing a positive attitude to every job that she does. Pacella said that she is always looking for new ways to solve problems and improve the learning environment at West Broward. She has made it a priority to help students overcome any challenges that they may be facing and spread school spirit. With her 18 years of experience, kind heart, and leadership skills, Pacella is now a proud member of the Bobcat family.
“I think an assistant principal needs to be patient, understanding, compassionate and honest. It requires you to approach every day with a new perspective. They need to be authentic with students and the community. They need to truly love what they do and always have the best interest of students. Making a connection with students and the family members that support them is essential,” Pacella said.
Born and raised in Davie, Florida, Pacella attended Broward County Public Schools from kindergarten to Grade 12. From a young age, Pacella knew that she wanted to work in a career that helped people and always had an aspiration to work in the education field. With this ambition in mind, Pacella graduated from Western High School to then attend the University of Central Florida where she went on to earn her degree in secondary English education in 2002. She later extended her education and worked to graduate with a master’s degree in Education from Florida Atlantic University in 2007.
“I knew early on that I wanted to be in education or in a field of service. I decided to go the education route because I love working with children and young adults,” Pacella said.
When Pacella is not working to improve West Broward, her favorite thing to do is spend time with her husband, Frank and three daughters, Breezy (5), Blaize (3) and Brooklyn (1). She is always up to do any activity that takes place outside, and she loves being creative through different arts and craft projects. Pacella also thoroughly enjoys shopping and baking in her spare time.
“I love spending time with my family. I have an amazing husband and three little girls. I enjoy doing just about anything outside, I love baking, doing artsy-crafty stuff and shopping for a good deal” Pacella said.
While Pacella’s personal happiness comes from her husband and children, her mother’s love and professional career in education was a guiding influence. Pacella isn’t the first educator in her family. Her love for the academic field was notably influenced by her mother, Barbara Burgs, who began her career as an English teacher and decided to become an assistant principal. Burgs worked as an English teacher for 6 years at Cooper City High and Western High. She later served as an Assistant Principal at Miramar High, Western High, Cypress Bay High, and Taravella High. Pacella inherited a continuous love for learning and helping others from her mom. These were the traits that played a significant role in her career choice.
“I come from a family of educators and service people,” Pacella stated. “My mom has been an incredible influence in my life. She worked hard, never stopped educating herself, and always strived for the best.”
According to Pacella, patience, compassion and trust are some of the most important traits to possess as an assistant principal. She believes that these characteristics are crucial when making connections with students and parents, creating the foundation for positive relationships and collaboration. In order to help a student reach their full potential, Pacella has shown that it is essential for a strong bond to have been created. This allows her to thoroughly understand the student’s situation, and provide them with the best support possible.
“She cares enough to take the time to get to know her students as individuals and wants to work on relationships that keep communication open, honest and approachable,” said Assistant Principal Wendolynn Sanchez. “She understands how parents want to support their students and how important it is for students to do what is needed to maintain their accountability for what they are doing to earn their diploma. She is equally a listener and a problem-solver.”
Pacella has worked in the education field for 18 years. She is using this abundance of experience and knowledge to help West Broward grow. She possesses many skills that are often vital in succeeding in her role as assistant principal. Pacella thrives in high pressure or stressful situations, is always looking to find new perspectives on challenges and has a strong sense of determination.
“She’s a hard worker. I think that’s very important in our culture here at West Broward. She’s the type of person that if she can’t answer something, she won’t stop till she finds the answer for you, or she’ll be transparent and she’ll tell you,” said Assistant Principal Diana Hurtado.
One characteristic about Pacella that has been evident since the beginning of her West Broward career is her passion for school spirit. One of the most substantial goals that she hopes to accomplish while serving as West Broward’s assistant principal is to instill more school pride into students and make school events more enjoyable. Pacella believes that when students are more involved in school clubs, activities and sports, they become more successful academically. Mrs. Sanchez also believes that she will help students share a further sense of community with each other.
“Mrs. Pacella is full of school spirit! She adds a flair to the events and activities that she participates in. And as she is the AP supervising athletics, she has already made herself the number one fan for any of our teams! She was a Bobcat from the first day she stepped onto campus,” Sanchez said.
Throughout this year, Pacella has been faced with many obstacles. She’s used her problem-solving skills, experience and optimistic personality to help get the West Broward staff and families through a number of obstacles. Despite not being able to see a majority of the Bobcat family in person, she has still worked hard to establish relationships with the administrative team and students. In the few months that she has been at West Broward, Pacella has already made a substantial impact and is destined to accomplish a great deal in the future.
“She fits into our culture at West Broward. She’s very outgoing and very friendly. The way she started the year was by building relationships, especially within her department. She’s a visionary.” Hurtado said.