LITTLE FALLS, NJ - Four candidates are running for the three open, three year terms on the Little Falls Board of Education. One candidate, Frederick DeMarco, is running for the one open, one year unexpired seat.
TAPinto Passaic Valley sent requests to all the candidates for their goals and qualifications. A response from candidate Michael Murphy was not received.
My name is Rachel Capizzi and I am running for re-election for a second term on the Little Falls Board of Education. My husband Gerard and I have lived in Little Falls for 13 years, and I am the proud stepmother of two college-aged kids as well as the mother of 9-year-old twins that are thriving in the Little Falls schools.
After spending time in the corporate world, I became certified and received my master’s degree in special education at William Paterson, while working as a classroom aide. I then became an elementary resource room teacher. After teaching for several years, I completed my master’s degree in educational leadership at Montclair State. I am now in my third year as a principal in Clifton. In this position, I am able to do the very important work of giving teachers the support they need to do their jobs successfully. As an administrator, I am fully versed in all of the current initiatives affecting our teachers and students, including teacher evaluation, the rigor of the New Jersey Student Learning Standards, tenure law changes, data collection and analysis, special education law, the PARCC test, and more. I have the unique perspective of someone who has been an aide, a teacher, and an administrator, and I’m currently a doctoral candidate at Caldwell University with a focus on special education.
My three years as a school board trustee have been extremely productive and fulfilling. One of the most important functions of a board is to choose a superintendent, and through a very intense and rigorous search, we were so fortunate to find Tracey Marinelli. Mrs. Marinelli’s accomplishments over the last three years are too many to name, but as the chairperson of the education/curriculum committee, I have been proud to see new curriculum as it was developed, new technologies adopted, amazing professional development given to staff, programs being realigned to maximize the benefit to students, and on and on! Our recent designation as a high performing district is directly attributable to the dedication of the administrative team and teachers, as well as the cohesiveness and commitment of the Board of Education. The district is also thriving from a financial standpoint, as we recently received a perfect audit with no areas of improvement identified. Smart, transparent financial decisions were made that have had a direct positive impact on the district, such as the restructuring of busing and the identification of children enrolled in the schools that actually live in other districts. These are just two of many initiatives that directly impact the taxpayer and highlight the emphasis that the Board of Education places on fiscal transparency and responsibility.
I love to talk with my children about what they experience at school each day and I am gratified to see abundant evidence that they are constantly learning and growing. I am so proud to give back to Little Falls by serving its schools and I look forward to continuing this work.
Fred DeMarco is a currently serving on the Little Falls Board of Education as a member of the policy and health and safety committees. He is seeking re-election on Nov. 7. Over the past year serving as a Board of ducation member, Fred has seen the great strides and accomplishments the district has made in improved test scores. The district as recently as two years ago was number 372 in the state, improving to number 81.
Fred is a member of the Little Falls PTA, PTSA, LFAC and a coach of youth softball.
He has been employed at UBS in Weehawken for 18 years and is the current head of the Americas Electronic Discovery Technology Services Case Management Team.
He and his wife Tina, an educator, have been residents of Little Falls for the past 17 years. They have four young daughters. Their oldest, Isabella, is 12 years old and in seventh grade, Victoria is 9 years old and in fourth grade, and Nicoletta and Giuliana are 6 years old and in kindergarten.
Fred is looking for your support to re-elect him Nov. 7 so he could continue to work with fellow Board of Ed members in supporting the district staff and students to follow their great journey.
Doug is currently a member of the Little Falls Board of Education and serves on the finance, policy and health and safety committees. Doug holds a B.S. Degree in business management from Kean University and has spent over 17 years in the fashion and apparel business in a leadership role. He and his family have lived in Little Falls for 12 years and has three children attending school in the district. Since 2011 Doug has been an active member of the Little Falls Athletic Club and a volunteer youth coach for seven years. Doug’s wife Robyn is a founding trustee of the Little Falls Education Foundation.
Michael Russo is seeking re-election to the Little Falls Board of Education. Russo is a lifelong resident of Little Falls and a graduate of both the Little Falls School system and Passaic Valley High School. The vice president of the Little Falls Board of Education, Russo is currently serving his fourth year. He is a member of both the finance committee and buildings and grounds committee. His experience, coupled with formal board training, has given him great insight and knowledge into the inner workings of the Board of Education. He is very proud of the recent improvements and accomplishments of the Little Falls School District.
Russo and his wife Cara, an educator, have three children attending the Little Falls schools. Alyssa is in sixth grade, Jillian is in fifth grade and Lindsay is in third grade. His children have had wonderful teachers and Russo strives to make sure that the district continues to improve for all students. As a thoughtful, open-minded board member, he is always willing to listen to the community and make educated decisions for the benefit of the children.
Russo recognizes the importance of a strong school district for both the children and the community. A dedicated community volunteer, Russo has a passion for his hometown. Coach Mike is heavily involved in town, coaching youth soccer, basketball and softball. He is also a PTA member and volunteer at events like Carnival Day. He has long standing ties to the community and was a founding member of the Little Falls Education Foundation. Russo’s grandparents, John and Elsie Curreri, moved to Little Falls in 1952 and his parents Jane and Chuck Russo are also pillars of the community.
A proven leader, Russo is currently an administrator at William Paterson University, where he is the director of development for the College of Science and Health and the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. Prior to that he served at Fairleigh Dickinson University in several roles, most recently overseeing all aspects of the university’s annual giving program. He has vast experience in management, budgeting, marketing, fundraising, public relations and grant writing.
Russo earned his master in public administration from Fairleigh Dickinson University and his bachelor of arts from the University of Scranton. One of his main goals is to make sure that every student is afforded great experiences, by finding cutting-edge educational innovations to ensure that the students can succeed and thrive. Russo has been instrumental in leading the district to improved rankings and QSAC and PARCC scores, while also helping to improve school security and making much needed improvements to school buildings and grounds.
Russo is a strong asset to the Little Falls Board of Education and will help lead the school district into the future by making smart, educated decisions for our community. On Nov. 7, please re-elect Michael Russo for Little Falls Board of Education.