Lafayette Township School can brag about the number of bullying incidents that occur within its walls – almost none! Gerard Fazzio ’81, Assistant Principal, plays one of the most prominent roles in this culture of teamwork and self-confidence at Lafayette. His ability to lead developed early in his career, where he learned that success only comes with a clear goal and the dedication to reach it.
This sense of determination was cultivated when Fazzio was an undergraduate at Montclair State College. While he worked on a degree in History and Geography, Fazzio played football. His football coaches, Coach Hill and Line Coach Giancola, instilled some of the most important lessons that Fazzio uses today with his students: never give up and never stop bettering yourself. When Fazzio became more interested in wrestling, he pursued it. He set goals for himself and worked to reach them. By 1980, he was wrestling professionally as part of the Executioner tag team in the World Wrestling Federation (Now World Wrestling Entertainment).
Fazzio’s wrestling career brought him all over the world, from Qatar to Japan and back to the United States. He’s a six-time world champion and still actively follows the sport, keeping in touch with trainers and fellow wrestlers he’s met through the years. These friends have been part of the Character Education program at Lafayette Township School. Recently, a wrestling and character education show was held at the school and was a huge success. The show raised more than $2,000 and the students took a lot from its message. Being able to meet the wrestlers after the show and talk with them made it more accessible for the students, which is one of Fazzio’s goals. He makes himself visible around the school and often has short, one-on-one conversations with students to foster trust and build relationships.
Education is an ever-changing field. Successful educators adapt with the field, and Fazzio embraces this. After teaching history and coaching track, football, wrestling and bowling at DePaul Catholic High School for 27 years, he wanted to become an administrator. Like every other goal, he worked toward this. In 2007, he earned a Master’s Degree in Educational Administration from Caldwell College. Since starting at Lafayette, he’s proved to teachers and parents alike that he’s a great fit for the position. He advises current Montclair State students to follow their goals with the same dedication: choose your path, work toward your goals, and never stop bettering yourself.