Welcome, Principal DeRusso!

By Rebecca Baenig, Assistant Superintendent, Region 5
July 01, 2024

The Region 5 Leadership Team is pleased to announce that Tom DeRusso has been named the new principal of Franklin Middle School. Mr. DeRusso's extensive experience and innovative approaches in school leadership make him an excellent match for the Franklin Middle School community.

Mr. DeRusso has served as the assistant principal of Rocky Run Middle School since July 2017. In this role, Mr. DeRusso has successfully led initiatives that have significantly improved student outcomes and enhanced a strong and highly supportive school climate. Mr. DeRusso guided the Instructional Leadership Council in developing a Tier 1 Behavior Solutions plan to promote best practices in climate, culture, communication, and curriculum and a school-wide Positive Behavior Intervention and Support (PBIS) framework. He empowered student voices through the creation of a Principal’s Advisory Committee, ensuring that a diverse group of students could provide input on school-wide initiatives.

His dedication to a Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS) has been instrumental in providing data-driven academic assistance to all students. He designed comprehensive intervention systems, collaborated with elementary schools for appropriate student placement, and successfully conducted a Saturday Science SOL review session that significantly boosted student performance.

Professional development has been another cornerstone of Mr. DeRusso's approach. He organized a guiding coalition to drive school-wide initiatives around Universal Design for Learning and Tier 1 behavior programs. His innovative use of Google Forms for observation feedback provided teachers with timely, meaningful insights to enhance their instructional practices.

Prior to joining the leadership team at Rocky Run, Mr. DeRusso was a history teacher at Katherine Johnson Middle School, where he held several leadership positions, including Department Chair. He also served as the School-Based Technology Specialist at Westfield High School. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Secondary Education from SUNY College at Courtland and a Master’s Degree in Integrated Technology in Schools from George Mason University.  He attended the Administration and Supervision Graduate program at the University of Virginia.

Mr. DeRusso and his wife Meg are both educators, as she is a high school Spanish teacher.  Tom and Meg are both from upstate New York and still try to spend as much time as they can in the Adirondacks over the summer.  They have three children: Amelia, Stella, and Oliver.  When he is not at school, you will find him riding his bike on the W&OD trail, golfing if he can find the time, and rooting for his beloved New York Giants.

Please join us in welcoming Mr. DeRusso. He is an innovative and dedicated leader who has been successful in establishing a positive school culture where all students, staff, and families feel supported and included.  We look forward to working together to continue fostering a positive and thriving educational environments for all students at Franklin Middle School.