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John DeFazio will leave Rochester school district to join Geneva Middle School as principal

A Rochester administrator will take the helm of Geneva Middle School on July 1.

The Geneva City School District Board of Education appointed John DeFazio, currently an assistant principal in Rochester, as the new middle school principal.

DeFazio has been an administrator in the Rochester City School District for eight years. Currently, he is assistant principal of Dr. Charles T. Lunsford School No. 19 for grades 5–8, Rochester. Prior to that, he served as vice principal at East High School, Rochester, program administrator at East High School Foundation Academy, and instructional coach at East High School.

He has experience in school improvement initiatives and instructional leadership. During his time in Rochester, he has been part of the initiatives to turn around schools that are struggling with academic accountability. He is trained in culturally response practices and data informed instruction. He began his career as a social studies teacher at East High School and John Marshall High School.

DeFazio was interviewed by a committee of middle school parents, teachers, support staff and administrators. He replaces Bob Smith, who will take over as director of facilities at the end of the school year.

“Mr. DeFazio was unanimously selected by the interview committee,” said Superintendent Patricia Garcia. “We had strong candidates for the role, but he really stood out. He has the skills and experience our middle school needs, and I am excited to welcome him to our team.”

DeFazio applied for the Geneva post, he says, in part because of the similarities between the Geneva City School District and the schools he has worked at in Rochester. “I felt like I could really connect with the community; Geneva is a very unique district in that it’s so diverse, socioeconomically and culturally,” DeFazio said. “I’m excited to begin building relationships with Geneva families, students and staff — that will be my first focus.”

DeFazio has a Master of Science in educational leadership from SUNY Brockport, a Master of Science in adolescent education for St. John Fisher, and a Bachelor of Science in criminal justice from SUNY Brockport. He also has New York State professional certifications as a school building leader, district leader, and secondary school social studies teacher.

Although his professional career has been spent in Rochester, DeFazio has family roots in Geneva, where his great grandfather settled after moving to the United States from Italy, becoming head chef at The Club. “I feel like I was meant to be a part of the community,” DeFazio said. “The more I was involved in the interview process, the more I really felt like it’s a good fit. I’m overwhelmed with excitement—if I could start tomorrow, I would.”