- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 23, 2006

Tired of everyone telling him “no,” young schoolteacher John D. Musso became involved in his school system to fix the problems he saw.

“I thought, ‘I could be the principal and maybe I can effect change at the central office,’” Mr. Musso said. “That’s how I got on the support side of the school system.”

Thirty years later, Mr. Musso has been appointed executive director of the Association of School Business Officials International (ASBO). The organization represents and provides resources to business officials working in North American school districts as chief financial officers or in departments such as transportation, human resources and nutrition.

“I think I will be able to lead those people because I know what their struggles are on a daily basis,” Mr. Musso said. “It’s an exciting time at ASBO. We are moving in a lot of different directions.”

Mr. Musso graduated from the University of Southern Colorado in 1975 with a bachelor’s degree in math-science and minor in psychology and reading. He began working as an elementary school teacher and received his master’s degree in public administration from the University of Northern Colorado in 1978. He received his administrative credentials as a school principal and superintendent from Western State College in 1983, when he became an elementary school principal.

In 1990, he became the chief financial officer for District 70 in Pueblo, Colo., where he worked until 1997, when he became the chief financial officer of the school district in Colorado Springs. In 2003, he moved to Washington to become the chief financial officer of the D.C. Public Schools, where he oversaw the budget and other fiscal issues.

“His experience is what is key and understanding what school business management is all about,” said Dennis Costerison, executive director of the Indiana Association of School Business Officials, who has known Mr. Musso for 20 years. “I think he knows what the members in the field need because he was one.”

Mr. Musso said it is easy to lose focus in the school business-management environment.

“We can’t forget the kids and I always make sure the staff knew why we did what we did on a daily basis. Without the kids in the classrooms there was really no point in them being there.”

Mr. Musso joined the Association of School Business Officials International in the late 1970s as a teacher and has remained active since then.

“He understands the day-to-day stuff, he understands the education side and how the association works,” said Dan Moberly, a retired school business official who continues to work with Mr. Musso. “He brings a very rich background and he is well-respected in our field.”

Mr. Musso, 52, lives in Arlington with his wife, Anita.

—Marie Tyler

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