James Kaden Dies; Led South Huntington School Board

James Kaden, who led the South Huntington Board of Education as president for several years, and was active in other community issues, died Tuesday. He was 67.

Known for his methodical and thorough approach to school finances and other topics,  Kaden also served on the Western BOCES board of education, and as a member of the committee preparing the Downtown Revitalization Initiative in Huntington Station.

He served on the South Huntington school board for 25 years.

“Jim Kaden dedicated his life to our community and left a legacy of service that will endure for generations to come,” said Dr. David Bennardo, former South Huntington superintendent who is know a member of the Huntington Town Board.

He was also active in the PTA and Booster Club.

After his retirement from the South Huntington school board, he continued to volunteer as a member of the district’s Audit Committee.

Nicholas Ciappetta, who succeeded Kaden as board president, 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.”

He was honored several times for his contributions, including in 2012 when he was named the New York State School Boards Association’s Advocate of the Year “for his dedication to public education and tireless work on behalf of students.”

“A constant figure at NYSSBA advocacy events, legislative and commission hearings, Kaden is regularly in touch with legislative representatives be it on the local, county or state levels and has lobbied in Albany for the best interests of his district and community,” the organization said.

He was also a former president of the Nassau-Suffolk School Boards Association.

South Huntington superintendent Dr. Vito D’Elia said, “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.”

The South Huntington district’s administrative office was named for Kaden in 2017.

He worked as an engineering program manager.

His wife, Debbie Adams-Kaden, is active in community events.


Sept. 14
5:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m.

Friday, Sept. 15

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

Funeral Services
Saturday Sept 16
9:15 a.m.
St. Patrick R.C. Church

400 West Main Street

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