NEW CANAAN — For many reasons, the newly- named New Canaan High School Assistant Principal David Gusitsch is looking forward to his new role. But most of all, he’s thrilled to be able to work more directly with students.

“In my role right now, I haven’t taught for five or six years,” said Gusitsch, who, until July 1, is Westport’s health and physical education curriculum coordinator. “Right now I travel between all eight schools (in Westport). I try to have conversations when I can with students, but it’s not the same as having one cohort of students that you build strong relationships with.

“That’s probably what I’m looking forward to the most — getting back to working directly with kids,” he added.

Gusitsch will be taking over for Veronica LeDuc, who is retiring at the end of the school year.

“We thank Dr. LeDuc for her outstanding service to New Canaan, and congratulate her on her decision to retire this year,” said New Canaan Superintendent Bryan Luizzi in a statement. “At the same time, we are thrilled to have identified and hired a dedicated and talented professional who will continue the school’s great work in the spirit of continuous improvement and focused on helping every student excel throughout his or her time at NCHS.”

Gusitsch previously spent 10 years working in Westport in various educator and administrative roles, including stints as a Coleytown Middle School assistant principal, a department chair, a varsity swim and football coach and a health and physical education teacher at Staples High School.

Athletics have long been an important part of his life.

Growing up in New Fairfield, Conn., Gusitsch played football and lacrosse, and he went on the swim at Central Connecticut State University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in health and physical education with coaching.

“Athletics have always kind of been in my family. They’re something I value highly,” Gusitsch said. “But I value any extracurricular. Sports happened to be my path, but I understand the arts and performing arts, or even just a concentration on academics, can be equally important. Anything kids are interested in — I look forward to harboring those interests.”

He was drawn to education, in part, because of the profound influence his own teachers and coaches had on him growing up. Gusitsch said he developed a reputation among his young friends for his attention to detail and knack for correcting their mistakes.

“I wasn’t trying to show anybody up, but if I heard something (wrong) I said something,” Gusitsch said.

He holds an educational leadership degree from Sacred Heart University, as well as a master’s in sport management from Western Illinois University.

He has served on the Executive Board of The Connecticut Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance and on the Executive Advisory Council of The Connecticut Association of Administrators of Health and Physical Education.

“I’m really honored for this opportunity. I’m excited, and bottom line, I’m ready to get to work at New Canaan High School,” Gusitsch said. “Going in what I’m most looking forward to, but also what will probably be the biggest challenge, is learning everybody’s name and learning the intricacies and culture of the community at large.”

Erin Kayata contributed to this report.