by Lisa Bielmeier
Dr. Lynn Fusco has taken over the duties of superintendent at the Niagara-Wheatfield Central School District.
The beleaguered district has had its share of negative press over the past few years and Fusco is looking forward to bringing the district back to its formal glory.
"This has always been a premier district that focuses on kids. It is known for music, arts and academics; always top notch. If it was good for the students, it was happening here," Fusco said. "There is no doubt that we are facing challenging and lean times, but I think this is a community that is willing to work with me to provide programs that we can all we be proud of."
It is obvious that Fusco is very passionate about education. She says her love of knowledge started when she was a child.
"I always knew I wanted to be a teacher. I have always been interested how people thought about things. I am very curious by nature and that fascinated me. I had family members who were teachers and they inspired me. Going into teaching combined my love of learning and helping others," she said.
It was an older cousin who had Down syndrome that made her decide to go into special education.
Her first job was with United Cerebral Palsy, where she worked with a team helping multi-handicapped babies and their parents. She decided to go back to school and get a master's degree and a Ph.D. She then taught at Royalton-Hartland Junior-Senior High School and grades 3 to 6 at Pembroke Central Schools. It was while she was at Pembroke that she moved into administration. She then moved on to East Aurora, where she was the director of curriculum, instruction and personnel for 10 years.
Seven years ago, Alden Central Schools hired her to be their superintendent, and after a lengthy search, she was tapped to be Niagara-Wheatfield's leader.
"There comes a time professionally where you are ready for a challenge and this was the right time for me. I am really looking forward to working with this district and hearing what the community has to say. What do they think are the biggest challenges? What changes would they like to see happen? I really want to know what they think this district needs. We all need to be in this together," Fusco said. "There is a great deal of pride here. I think the people have had a big shock with the financial troubles we have had, and now we know what our reality is. I think what we do have is a staff, board of education and a community that is ready to move forward."
Fusco is issuing an invitation to the public to visit the Niagara-Wheatfield School District website, at http://www.nwcsd.k12.ny.us/SuptSurvey, where they can fill in a survey and voice their opinion on the district's direction. The link can be found in her letter on the main page.
"It is time for some creative problem-solving and hard work by everyone. I believe we can make it happen, but we have to do it together," she said.