Principal Mike Fugazzi has returned to St. James as the new principal

Sarah Bunich
St. James Plaindealer
Mike Fugazzi returns to St. James as the new middle school high school principal.

Former Northside Elementary Assistant Principal Mike Fugazzi returned to St. James School District after working in South St. Paul at Lincoln Center Elementary for eight years.

Fugazzi will be taking over for Karla Beck, who resigned in June, as the middle/high school principal. Coming back to St. James was a want and a need for Fugazzi, who had a list of what would peak his interest more into coming back to St. James.

" I had a great experience here and for the last, many years had said that (St. James) was a place that I just felt like a good place to be," said Fugazzi. " It was a part of the priority grand, I was an assistant principal for the priority grand. I wasn't sure if there were going to be opportunities to stay and I knew I would have to look else where at some point."

Having most of his principal career being in elementary and early middle school, coming to the high school is bringing some changes. Fugazzi has kids middle school aged and has coached high school aged kids for a number of years. Going from elementary to high school the stakes and how they matter change.

" Being a high school principal the stakes matter, graduation is a big deal, fifth year and how we help you prepare for that is a big deal and the kids know that,' said Fugazzi. "An elementary kid know it is important to learn reading and math, but they don't understand the implications of it."

Based on Fugazzi experince working in South St. Paul and how the school's system worked there. Fugazzi was able to work with the middle and high school staff members a little bit during his time there, has helped to prepare him to become a secondary school principal.

"Being a principal at South St. Paul, first ranked suburb with the size. It was a lot more middle school high school than elementary in terms of like the demands of the job." said Fugazzi. " The other piece of that is that was also a small district so I got to work very closely and a lot of systems work with the middle school and secondary principals and staff." 

Now working with middle school and high school age students Fugazzi said he is excited because there are a lot of big moments student have in these years such as graduating. Fugazzi hopes to work with teachers, staff and students to prepare them for life after high school.