Education

Tedesco leaving job to focus on Wake school board

Posted April 2, 2010 5:49 p.m. EDT
Updated April 3, 2010 7:28 a.m. EDT

— Wake County Board of Education member John Tedesco announced Friday that he is resigning as chief development officer of Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Triangle so he can "commit full time" to his role on the school board.

"While my heart is with the mission of this incredible organization, today our broader community stands at a crossroads," he wrote in a news release to "friends, media (and) interested parties."

"I believe in times of challenge leaders need to make sacrifices to serve a greater public good," he added.

"I don't think people understand school board roles. They are essentially almost volunteer gigs,” Tedesco said.

Tedesco said his work for the board pays about $11,000 a year. It will not replace the salary he was making at Big Brothers Big Sisters, although he declined to say how much that was.

Tedesco said he’ll support himself on savings for a few months while he chairs the school board’s Student Assignment and Economically Disadvantaged Taskforce committees.

Tedesco has been the point man for the board’s push to change how students are assigned to schools across the county. He wrote the resolution for an assignment model in which students go to schools within a certain community zone.

The board will spend up to 15 months crafting an alternative to the decade-old assignment method which bused students across the district to help achieve socio-economic diversity, allowing no school more than 40 percent of students receiving free- or reduced-price lunches.

Tedesco said he wants to devote more time to that work, noting he has been putting in 20-30 hours in addition to his full-time job.

“Short of losing some sleep and personal time, I don’t think I’ve paid a price” for the opportunity to serve the community, Tedesco said.

“I wanted to make a bigger commitment to our community and our kids,” he said of his decision.

“My efforts to help … a couple of thousand kids (through Big Brothers Big Sisters) was very important to me,” he said. “But my efforts to make sure we do right by over 140,000 kids right now, it critical at this time.”