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The Cahn Fellows Program

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Mark Cannizzaro

2009 Cahn Fellow Mark Cannizzaro was unanimously elected Executive Vice President of the Council of Supervisors and Administrators (CSA) last September, after nine years as principal of Frank D. Paulo Intermediate School.  

Mark has served the children of Staten Island in various roles for more than 25 years.  "Like my Cahn Fellowship and school leadership, this is certainly another learning experience which always keeps me motivated.   I am looking forward to the challenge however I will miss my school and the principalship.  I really do love Paulo Intermediate and the Staten Island community," Cannizzaro said. Throughout his career, this intrepid school leader has become known for his abiding concern for children with special needs, seeing to students' academic, artistic and physical well-being as well as his commitment to educating teachers.  
As the CSA's Executive Vice President, Cannizzaro now works on behalf of union members to negotiate salaries, benefits and working conditions related to school administration and supervision. "The instructional strategies and lessons that my Ally and I learned during our Cahn Fellowship continue to shape my thinking and leadership today as I represent every principal, supervisor and administrator in New York City.  I can easily apply key themes from my Cahn project - innovation, learning and motivation - to help principals successfully lead schools in America's largest public education system. Now that's a leadership challenge that I am looking forward to."
After graduating from the State University of New York at Cortland, Cannizzaro became a Physical Education teacher at Tottenville Intermediate School and was promoted to assistant principal in 1995.  Among his many honors there was the Angela Zirpiades Outstanding Physical Educator Award.  Mark would also earn his Master's degree in Special Education and his certificate in Supervision and Administration, both at the College of Staten Island, during his tenure at Tottenville.
In 2003, Cannizzaro was offered the principalship at Paulo Intermediate School and under his leadership, Region 7 named I.S. 75 a model middle school.  He was honored in 2008 with the Entertainers4Education Award for Outstanding Leadership as well as membership in the New York Academy of Public Education.  Mark's school leadership journey took several pivotal turns in 2009, when he simultaneously accepted not one but three key leadership roles.   He became secretary of CSA and president of the Middle School Principals Association, representing the union as well as supporting the City's K-8 principals.
Under the direction of CSA President Ernie Logan, the veteran Staten Island educator now represents the collective bargaining unit for New York City's 6,000 principals, supervisors and administrators. "It is no exaggeration; everyone who meets Mark Cannizzaro likes him.  He is easygoing, but has conspicuous tenacity and insight.  He gets to the heart of the matter faster and articulates it better than just about anyone else.  We congratulate Mark and thank him for his willingness to serve and lead our great union," Logan said.


How do we increase the use of technology to share ideas about improving instruction, promoting communication and increasing efficiency?
In 2009, Mark Cannizzaro was also awarded the Cahn Fellowship. During their year-long leadership development program with faculty advisors at Teachers College, he and his Cahn Ally, I.S. 75 Assistant Principal Mark Reinhold, chose to focus on improving and promoting school instruction, communication and efficiency through technological innovation.
"Mark provided me with the best on the job training I could possibly receive as my Cahn Fellow, mentor and school principal. His door was always open for me and for all his staff. He is a dedicated leader, motivator and teacher whose impact and legacy at Paulo Intermediate will endure for many years to come," Reinhold said.
I.S. 75 has made significant progress by implementing instructional supports and resources, ranging from Smart boards and Senteos to electronic grade books and online textbooks.
"I am particularly proud of how we used transformative technology to successfully enhance Paulo's instructional practices as our Cahn challenge. By the time we presented our research at the 2010 June Leadership Conference, our challenge project had clearly led to school-wide buy-in, enthusiasm and learning," Mark added.
All indications show that the challenge project was a huge success as Paulo Intermediate school has made steady progress on all city and state accountability measures.


On Leadership

'Good leaders are passionate about their work. Through their styles differ, there are many common elements - strong beliefs, integrity, good people skills, thirst for knowledge, and willingness to learn. High energy helps too!' --Cahn Fellow Principal

'Leadership is not so much about the duties you perform as it is about the people you serve.' --Cahn Fellow Principal