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.


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