John Brucato, Executive Director of Development of Advanced Math & Science Academy Charter School
John Brucato’a BIO
John Brucato has contributed at almost every level throughout his 36 years as an educator. A secondary school teacher, coach, and student leadership advisor for 17 years, Brucato has successfully performed a number of school leadership roles in public, independent and charter schools as a dean of students, athletic director, assistant principal, principal, executive director and executive director of development. Brucato coached men’s and woman’s varsity athletic teams in Football, Wrestling, Cross Country and Track & Field. A number of the young people he coached became successful collegiate scholar athletes. He coached Pop Warner youth football for 9 years as well.
Believing that effective school leaders must be committed to professional growth and lifelong learning, Brucato authored “Creating a Learning Environment: an Educational Leader’s Guide to Managing School Culture”, (2005) and co-authored “Questions and Answers about Block Scheduling: an Implementation Guide”, (1999). Since becoming an educational leader, Brucato has mentored a number of school leaders and consulted with schools throughout the nation.
Brucato has been actively involved with the Massachusetts Secondary School Administrators Association, was President of the organization in 2007 and has been a member of the Board of Directors since 1999. Active with the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association as well, Brucato served as Chairman of the State Wrestling Committee for three years and Vice President of the MIAA in 2010.
A 2003, Massachusetts Distinguished Educator, Brucato was named the Massachusetts State Principal of the Year in 2007. In 2013 he was given the Voice of Hope Award by Employment Options for his advocacy and commitment to assisting individuals afflicted with mental illness in becoming employed.
Brucato remains a staunch supporter of choice education for public school children and continues to pursue business and education partnerships for the Advanced Math and Science Academy in Marlborough Ma in his new role as Executive Director of Development. Brucato served as the schools Executive Director for three years from 2011 to 2014. In 2013, AMSA was rated the 3rd best school in Massachusetts by US News and World Report. In 2014, the school moved to second in the same annual poll. Recently, Boston Magazine named AMSA 4th among their top 50 public schools in Massachusetts.
In the Spotlight Interview
1. Please share with us your involvement in the Advanced Math and Science Academy.
John: I became involved with the Advanced Math and Science Academy in 2011 while looking for an opportunity to complete my career as an educator in a new role. They were looking for an Executive Director with leadership experience and I was looking for the challenge they had to offer. Having been a teacher, coach, student leadership advisor, Dean of Students, Athletic Director, Assistant Principal and Principal, the role of Executive Directory seemed like a good place to finish. As it turned out, a new beginning evolved from there. After three years in the role, I have recently transitioned to the Executive Director of Development.
2. Take us through a typical day, start to finish.
John: There are no typical days for Executive Directors of a grade 6 through 12 school as there are an array of responsibilities.
Supervising a central office staff, leadership team and facilities while remaining accessible to faculty, staff, parents, Board of Trustees members and business partners makes every day interesting. Most days will start early and end late and always involve correspondence, a meeting or two, budgetary matters, trouble shooting, problem solving and that which is not expected. Each day promises a number of challenges and transitions. Evening school events, committee and Board meetings, make some days and weeks longer than others, but ten hour days are typical. As an educational leader, you are always on call. While school is in session, be it a weekend or holiday, you must always answer the call and often times make difficult decisions spontaneously.
3. What was the best advice you received as you began your professional career?
John: The best advice I received when I began my career was that hard work, persistence and honesty, especially, would result in ongoing professional growth, meaningful relationships and satisfaction. By far the best advice I ever received.
4. What are your strategies for building awareness of Advanced Math & Science Academy Charter School for the short term and the long term?
John: Putting AMSA on the map was a priority from day one.
Initiative began with establishing traditions, assisting the students in finding an identity and celebrating student and faculty achievements in both curricula and co-curricular related activities. The web page, especially, needed to be taken out of the nineties and the school needed to demonstrate that it was an important part of the community. Building partnerships with local schools, colleges, universities and the business community remains an ongoing priority.
5. What is your proudest achievement?
John: I have been fortunate. Surrounding myself with successful people has brought me some wonderful honors. I would consider being named the Massachusetts 2007 State Principal of the Year one of the achievements I am most proud of.
6. What are Your Top 3 book recommendations?
John: From a professional standpoint, Jim Collins’ “Good to Great”, Eli Broad’s “The Art of Being Unreasonable”, and Dr. Ben Chavis’ “Crazy Like a Fox” are three books which inspire educational leaders to become self reflective and creative.
7. What other charitable causes are most meaningful to you and why?
John: I have always been a big supporter of the Special Olympics, but over the past few years he been more intimately involved with Employment Options, a nonprofit agency located in Marlborough, Massachusetts. The organization provides programs and employment opportunities for individuals looking to overcome mental health problems. Given that 45.9 million Americans experienced mental illness in 2012, I believe it to be critical that more people get behind the cause.
8. Who has been most influential toward your career successes with Absolutely Music?
John: Both my parents were educators and my siblings, a lawyer, teacher and nurse, were all influential in my career success. As the youngest of four children, I had excellent role models who also succeeded in the task of taming the wild child in me.
9. What is your advice for entrepreneurs who are 1-3 months away from launching their business?
John: Over the years I have mentored a number of aspiring educational leaders. Fortunately, most have been successful and all followed the same advice; place the best interest of the students in your care first, be prepared to be forever unprepared and understand that doing the right thing will not always be popular.