Fazzino wants to help schools put students first
jiannetta@ cecilwhig. com
— Since filing for a seat on the Cecil County Board of Education, Jim Fazzino has visited more than a third of the county’s schools.
As he’s walked the school hallways and talked to teachers, principal and students, Fazzino said he’s been most struck by the inequity in the system and the barriers to success students face.
“I was really surprised to learn about the impact poverty plays in education here in Cecil County,” Fazzino said. “It really boils down to, how do we work together to have the same exceptional experience in each of those five areas under the umbrella of Ce-
cil County Public Schools?”
Fazzino, an e- learning supervisor at Baltimore County Public Schools, is competing with Erin Doordan and Ron Lobos in the primary for the District 2 seat, which largely covers the northern Elkton area. The two candidates with the most votes in the non- partisan April 26 primary will move on to the general election in November.
As a school board member, Fazzino said his top priority would be making sure all decisions are made in the best interest of students, whether those decisions are related to curriculum, policy, the budget or staffing.
Part of that means making sure students have better access to technology and investing in the school system’s aging facilities so every student has an appropriate learning environment, he said. Fazzino was pleased that County Executive Tari Moore’s proposed budget includes funding to support many of the system’s infrastructure needs.
Though Moore only gave CCPS maintenance of effort funding for its operating budget, Fazzino said until he understands what the system will cut to deal with the decrease and how those cuts will affect student success, he can’t take a position on the funding.
“To be fiscally responsible, we need to make sure that we’re tying everything back to students at the center,” he said, noting that if staffing allocations for areas such as English as a second language, special education and drug education are cut, students could feel the effects.
As an educator for the past 18 years, Fazzino said it’s always important to have high expectations for students and he noted that the Common Core curriculum sets uniformly high standards for students so they can be college and career ready.
Fazzino also emphasized that Common Core does allow for local control because it’s up to each individual school system to design its own curriculum to meet those standards. Fazzino wants to see Cecil County have some of the state’s strongest schools, which means holding students to high standards, something that Common Core does.
“We have to have a plan about moving forward to increase our student success rate,” he said. “We’re good but I think we can go from good to great and from great to excellent.”
Fazzino is a graduate of Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania and has a master’s degree in education from Johns Hopkins University. He also has school leadership and administration certification from Loyola University Maryland. Fazzino and his wife, Melissa, an instructional coach at CCPS, live in Elkton with their two children, who both attend county schools.