Casses come home to Hills

Ron Burtz
After spending the last seven years working in an office and doing paperwork as a special education director, Tobey Cass says he is happy to be back “in the schools” working daily with students and teachers. He was hired to replace Jordan Likness as Custer High School’s activities director and assistant principal and brings 22 years of experience as both a teacher and administrator to the job. 
“I’ve been a high school teacher,” said Cass. “I’ve been an assistant principal. I’ve been a middle school principal, an elementary principal and a special education director.”
In addition to being back in the school building, Cass says he’s also happy to be back in the Black Hills after spending his entire career in Wyoming. 
Growing up in the northern Hills, Cass graduated from Lead High School and then went to Black Hills State University where he met his wife, Stacey, a 1992 Custer High School graduate. (Her parents are Roger and Barb Bailey.)
After both graduated with elementary education and special education degrees, they worked their way across Wyoming, ending up west of Jackson. 
After starting their family, Cass says he and Stacey wanted to be closer to grandparents, so they began a slow migration east, moving every four or five years.
They spent the last 12 years in Newcastle,Wyo., where Cass started as elementary principal and spent the last seven years working in the central office as special ed director. 
Noting he didn’t go into education to be in the central office doing paperwork, Cass says he looks forward to being back in the schools and interacting with students on a daily basis.
The Casses are no strangers to virtual teaching, however. After teaching in elementary schools for many years, Stacey has taught virtually the last several years through Wyoming Virtual Academy. Some of her students have been the children of contestants who competed on the TV show “The Voice.”  Tobey also teaches online English classes to students in China.
“I’ve actually had kids who have come over here and visited before...and we were able to meet them,” he says, noting that wherever in the world they are from, “kids are kids.”
The Cass’s oldest daughter, 22-year-old Hannah, attends Black Hills State University and plans to become a physical therapist. Next oldest, Jayme attends Eastern Wyoming College in Torrington, taking pre-veterinary studies. 
The youngest two, who Cass describes as being like “two peas in a pod,” will be students at CHS. Allyson will be a sophomore and Bailey will be a ninth grader. 
Cass says this will be the first time in seven years he has worked every day in the same building where his girls went to school.
While remodeling a home they bought west of Custer, the Cass family is staying temporarily with Stacey’s parents. They look forward to settling into their new home and community. 
Cass says he has had some opportunities to interact with staff and students here, like helping out with Saturday’s graduation exercises, and has come away with a positive impression. 
“They seem like a great group of people,” he said. “We’re pretty blessed and thankful to be a part of it. The staff seems like they are really close knit. They seem like they’re really there for kids, which I  appreciate.” 
Cass looks forward to being part of that and attending concerts, plays and athletic events. 
Superintendent Mark Naugle announced at a recent board of education meeting that he will take some of the activities director load off Cass’s shoulders for the first semester to give him time to settle into his role as assistant principal. However, Cass says he anticipates jumping into that role soon, as well. With his years of experience as an administrator, he says it will no doubt be like “riding a bike.”

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