Superintendent has served 20 years in his home district

By Mike McClure

Woodbridge Superintendent Heath Chasanov wasn’t looking to leave his home district, but when the opportunity to become the CEO of Kent-Sussex Industries, Inc. (KSI) came around he couldn’t pass it up.

“It’s bittersweet. Woodbridge has been a big part of my family,” said Chasanov, whose father Len had his first job at Woodbridge. “Woodbridge has been a part of my entire life.”

Shown are Woodbridge Assistant Superintendent Dr. Kevin Long, left, and Superintendent Heath Chasanov. Long, a former student of Chasanov’s, will become the district’s new superintendent when Chasanov leaves to become the new CEO at Kent-Sussex Industries. Submitted photo

Heath Chasanov has worked at his alma mater for 20 years, including the past 11 years as superintendent. When he came back to Woodbridge in 2003 some of the teachers he had in school were still teaching there. He decided to work for the district to give back to the community that did so much for him and his family.

Along with the state titles and Blue Ribbon awards, Chasanov is most proud of the fact that the Woodbridge School District remembers its past.

“We’re a district that doesn’t forget our past. I hope that’s my legacy, I remember those that put me in a position to succeed,” Chasanov said.

In recent years the district has named the media center after Walt Gilefski, the track after Sam Wylie, and the WECEC gym after Carl Z. Baker. Chasanov hopes the next generation of district leaders will do the same.

“There is a time to look for another challenge and let younger leaders take over,” Chasanov said of his decision to pursue and accept the position at KSI. He sees a parallel between his new position and his career serving students and their families.

KSI is a not for profit agency, providing vocational training, employment, community integration, transportation, day habilitation, and nutritional services to individuals with disabilities throughout Kent and Sussex counties.

“The Board is incredibly excited about the future of KSI under Heath’s guidance,” KSI Board Chairman Travis Frey, said in a statement. “Heath will bring his superior leadership, sense of community and compassion to the KSI team.” 

As CEO, Heath will be in charge of the overall organization, set the direction, and make sure people feel appreciated. He will start at KSI on Dec. 4 while his last working day at Woodbridge will be Nov. 22. 

“It’s (KSI) a wonderful organization that does wonderful things,” said Chasanov. “I’ve been tied to a school calendar for 32 years so that will be different for me.”

Chasanov announced his news following last week’s Woodbridge School Board meeting. He also announced that Assistant Superintendent Dr. Kevin Long has been hired as the district’s new superintendent.

“The board couldn’t have picked anyone better to replace me,” Chasanov said. “He understands the power of building relationships. He’s even-keeled and he’s bright.

“We have a good team here. It’s a good time for me to go.”

Long was hired as Woodbridge’s Director of Administrative Services before recently being promoted to Assistant Superintendent. He has worked for the district since 2017 and will become its ninth superintendent.

Long was also a student of Chasanov’s at Polytech. Chasanov once told a board member that Long would eventually replace him.

While Heath is leaving the district as an employee, he plans to be at football and basketball games and will be a resource for Long. He also plans to be involved with the alumni association, something he hasn’t done while serving as superintendent.

“November 22 will be my last day but it won’t be the last time people will see me. This place will always be home for me,” he said. “It’s a new chapter in my life and I think it’s going to be a good change for me.”