Faculty Focus: John Cascino

By Jen Maxwell
Published: June 2010

The majority of students that have had Mr.Cascino as a math teacher would agree that he has lead an interesting and incredible life that has shaped him into the unique person and effective teacher that he is today.

Cascino has had many fascinating experiences worth sharing. He was born in North Chicago and lived there through high school graduation.

At the end of his high school career, he initially only applied to one school: University of Michigan.

His mother made him apply to more schools, however, leading Cascino to quickly fill out applications to Harvard and Haverford.

Cascino was accepted to Michigan, put on the wait list at Haverford, and told by Harvard that his application was past the acceptable deadline. After some time, he was accepted into Haverford.

After much deliberation, he decided that Michigan was too big of a school for him, so he decided to enroll at Haverford. He could not be happier with his decision.

“I am so thankful that mom did what she did. She was the reason that I had such a great college experience¦I give her all the credit. Cascino said.

In college, he was almost certain that he wanted to be a history teacher. During his time at Haverford, he took a philosophy class with an incredibly inspiring teacher.

“I still remember his name. He’s my mentor and I think about him almost every day, Cascino said.

In 1982, Cascino’s girlfriend introduced Buddhism into his life. Since then, it has played a significant role in his life. To this day, he chants very morning.

After college, he worked as a commodities broker, then as an electro-mechanical engineer.

He retired young after making a fortune as an engineer, but had to come out of retirement when he started a family. He taught first in Boston, but eventually came to Newton with his son.

A very interesting part of Cascino’s identity is his hair. He has been growing a beard since he was 20 years old, and only cut it once during a two-year span. Neither his kids nor his wife have ever seen him without it.

Aside from his distinguished physical attributes, Cascino has many personality traits that make him unique, specifically his ceaseless excitement for life. He is always looking to seize new opportunities.

Once, as a joke, he auditioned to be in a ballet for Wang Center Stage with 400 other applicants. He was selected first because he fit the costume. Out of the 400 people who applied, he was one of twelve to be selected.

Another way in which Cascino takes advantages of life opportunities is traveling.

Throughout his life, he has been as far west as Hawaii and as far east as Moscow. He has loved these experiences and it is clear that hopes to have many more, as he says he hopes to live to be 100.

Cascino is effective in taking his experiences and his enthusiasm and channeling them into the classroom.

“He teaches in a different way. He is really relaxed and flexible, and he gets you to think about math not just in terms of numbers, but in a more theoretical way, junior Jenny Gerstner said.

Cascino believes that the best part of his life is that “ everything worked out in the end. He feels lucky that he met his wife and that they started a family. He loves his life both at home and in the classroom.

“I have one of the most important jobs that a person could have, and I feel so lucky to be able to watch such smart, dedicated people learn and grow. I am so happy with how my life turned out and I wouldn’t change a thing, Cascino said.

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