Guilderland Central School District music teacher John Fatuzzo is being honored by the New York State School Music Association (NYSSMA) with the 2023 Early Career Achievement Educator Award, which recognizes the contributions of music educators who have been in the field five to nine years.
A teacher at both Farnsworth Middle School and Guilderland High School, Mr. Fatuzzo has been with the district for three years and, in that time, has distinguished himself as a leader, a collaborator and an advocate for students. His dedication to music education has been apparent since joining the district. Mr. Fatuzzo has expanded participation, rehearsal time and performance opportunities for the GHS jazz ensemble to the extent where it was necessary to add a second group. Additionally, he continually seeks out performance opportunities for students such as NYSSMA Major Organization Festivals, where they have received ratings of gold and gold with distinction.
“Mr. Fatuzzo has been an amazing addition to the Guilderland Music Department,” said Robert Winans, Instructional Administrator for Music. “Time and time again, he has proven to be both an excellent and caring educator, as well as a leader within the department.”
From his start with the district, Mr. Fatuzzo has demonstrated leadership qualities by assuming additional responsibilities to the benefit of his music department colleagues and students. He joined and quickly became a valued member of the Music Cabinet, has worked hard as part of a team to help revise the band curriculum, and took an active role in the hiring, onboarding and mentoring of a new band teacher last spring. As the ensemble chair for the 2023 Suburban Council Music Festival Jazz Ensemble, Mr. Fatuzzo secured an excellent conductor, managed auditions, and assisted with the repertoire selection, leading the group to perform to high praise.
Last May, he volunteered to chair a NYSSMA Zone 7’s Solo and Ensemble Festival hosted at Farnsworth Middle School, which involved more than 1,200 students from across the Capital Region. Under his leadership, the festival ran smoothly and without issue.
“John works collaboratively for the betterment of the department, is tireless in the way in which he advocates for his students and produces amazing results,” said Mr. Winans. “We are all so proud of John and are fortunate to count him among our team of outstanding music educators here in Guilderland.”
Outside of his GCSD teaching responsibilities, Mr. Fatuzzo serves as the principal brass sectional coach for the Empire State Youth Orchestras Symphony Orchestra as well as a NYSSMA Solo and Ensemble Brass Adjudicator. He has recently conducted programs with high school All-County ensembles and the Guilderland Town Band. An active freelance trumpeter, Mr. Fatuzzo regularly performs with the Capital Region Wind Ensemble, Albany Pro Musica and the Schenectady-Saratoga Symphony Orchestra.
“It’s an incredible honor to receive this recognition from NYSSMA,” says Mr. Fatuzzo. “I am grateful to my Guilderland band students and department colleagues, who make teaching music so rewarding each and every day, but also to all my musical and educational mentors, past and present, who have inspired me to work hard at what I love to do. For all of them, I am truly blessed.”
The NYSSMA Early Career Achievement Educator Award recognizes the contributions of music educators in New York State at the local level who have been in the field between five and nine years. Award recipients demonstrate interest in music education by active involvement in NYSSMA, show effectiveness in teaching young people through music and possess the ability to inspire positive attitudes among students, the school and community in a balanced program.
Mr. Fatuzzo will be honored by members of the NYSSMA Executive Council at the May 15, 2024 Guilderland Band Festival Concert.