MILTON — Matt Grasso is the Milton Town School District’s first director of operations.
He started about six weeks ago, after the District Reorganization Committee recommended the creation of the position and the school board approved it. Grasso oversees departments like facilities, food service and IT and reports directly to Superintendent Amy Rex.
“Previously, managing all of that was a very time consuming process for me,” Rex said in a Sept. 13 interview with the Independent. “That work took me away from schools and my work with principals.”
Grasso and Rex will work closely over the next several months to make use MTSD's almost $3 million in federally-given ESSER funds. Rex said Grasso's assistance with the multitude of grant applications will allow her to spend more time on curriculum coordination and professional development opportunities for educators, her specialty.
"I wasn't able to really do that work in the last year and a half, so it feels really good to be able to get back to the teaching and learning side of things," she said.
Grasso took time out of his busy schedule earlier this week to speak with the Independent. He’s what he had to say about this previous work experience, day-to-day tasks and future goals.
Q: Start by telling me a little bit about your background. Where did you work previously?
A: My last 15 years were spent as the operations manager for a company called Haul Communications, which owns 21 radio stations in Vermont, Connecticut, Florida, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island.
While I was also doing that, I was also teaching five different courses at Champlain College. I've been doing that since 2007. And then I started teaching at St. Michael's College two years ago.
Q: What was it about this position that was intriguing to you?
A: First of all, I live in the town. I have children who go to the school.
People have told me many times, ‘You’d be a good guy to be a part of the school board,’ and I sort of was thinking, ‘Okay, well that's sort of a limited-term thing. How can I get involved in the school, and make a bigger difference in my own community?’
Essentially the draw for me is, I live here, and I've had a great relationship with the school, and I just feel like my skill set could help out here.
Q: What does a typical day look like for you?
A: I had an IT meeting this morning, followed by a meeting with the School Resource Officer. When I get out of here, I have a facilities meeting with our Facilities Manager Bruce [Cheeseman], and then this afternoon, I have a finance meeting with Amy [Rex], and our business manager.
I sort of thought I was going to be able to compartmentalize stuff, day by day, but what I'm really finding at this point is that all of the departments need attention every day. That's actually been fun, because I'm not just sitting in an office doing the same thing all day. I am enjoying the different personalities and the different tasks.
Q: Now that you’ve had some time to assess what’s working and what is not, what is your next project or goal?
A: I've been evaluating individual departments, but there are projects where I know if we had people from one department and another department working together, we could definitely work smarter in these scenarios.
I spend time with the IT people, and I spend time with the facilities people, and now what I need to do is if we have a project that is sort of in the middle, set up collaborative work between IT and facilities. Not only would that be a lot less expensive, but a lot faster.
Q: What do you enjoy doing when you are not working?
A: We are a big soccer family. My daughters are on the girls soccer team.
Nobody in my family is on the Milton boys soccer team, but on Saturday, I was in Jericho at Mount Mansfield Union at the boys game just because I'm part of the community.
I don’t have a lot of time right now to play golf, but someday I’d like to be living on a golf course somewhere in very warm weather.