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In an attempt to turn around troubled schools, the Rochester City School District is calling on three former leaders from high performing schools to lead the charge.
Superintendent Bolgen Vargas appointed Ralph Spezio, Suzanne Johnston and Ray Giamartino to the transformation team.
Giamartino, current superintendent of schools in East Rochester and a former school chief in Rochester, will serve as chief of school transformation. He will help move priority schools that rank among the lowest in the state to schools in good standing.
"There really needs to be a cohesive and well-thought-out plan specifically involving your community, and your school, as the center of your community, is one that I know and am confident we can re-establish quite frankly in RCSD," Giamartino said.
Suzanne Johnston, president of Mercy High School and former principal at Wilson, returns to her former school to help mentor the current principal and return Wilson to one of the top performing schools in the country.
"I happen to know Wilson when it was in deep trouble, far, far worse performance than what may be happening today. I saw it in transition, then I saw it in continual pursuit of excellence. I think I can bring that experience but I think we need to remember that these are different times," said Johnston.
Spezio, the former principal at School 17, is returning to that post. His goal is to make 17 a community school and return it to the high standards he set during his previous tenure there.
"I think it's really important to have ownership. When all the constituencies have ownership, that brings to mind to me a personal investment, and when you have personal investment in something then you have the level of commitment to have the urgency that's needed to make things wonderful happen," Spezio said.
Spezio's appointment was approved by the City School Board last week.
The board will take up the appointments of Giamartino and Johnston at its July 22 meeting.