Hello, my name is Donato Carmine Rufo, and it is an honor to run for DSEA President. I was born and raised in Wilmington, Delaware. My mother and father came to America in the 1950’s from Italy. My parents worked hard, and instilled in me a love for this country, and a strong sense of pride and value in one’s work. I considered us a “Blue Collar” family with strong roots in organized labor. My mother worked at the family pizza shop on Union Street, and my father retired with the United Auto Workers having worked at General Motors for 28 years. His commitment to his Union, and his Union’s commitment to him was palpable. I still drive by the shuttered GM plant that put so much food on so many tables for so long and wonder what happened.
I attended the University of Delaware and received my BA in Social Studies Education in 1995. I began my teaching career at Wilmington High School. I have also held teaching positions at New Beginnings and The Community School, both Alternative School programs. In 2002 I accepted a position at Delcastle Technical High School, and have been there since. These positions have afforded me opportunities to work with wonderful individuals both in our District and state-wide. This year marked my 20h year in Delaware Public Schools. Over the years I have attained Special Education certification, and I earned my master’s degree in School Administration in 2009 from UD.
I have coached many sports, and have also been an advisor for several clubs and organizations over the years. I was awarded regional awards as Student Council advisor and I have been nominated for Delcastle Teacher of the Year numerous times and received the James H. Groves Adult Education Teacher of the Year award in 2007. Athletics and clubs/organizations have always been important parts of a student’s academic life, and I think all extra curricular activities should be nurtured in our schools. These include fine and preforming arts, as well as other creative outlets for our students.
It has been my privilege to serve as the NCCVTEA Treasurer and currently President. It has been a true reward to be able to serve my friends and associates in this capacity. I have attended all meetings and conferences at both the local and state level and have always tried to foster a spirit of open communication and good will. I have been a good advocate and strong ally for the Teachers and Paraprofessionals of the NCCVT School District. Over the years my experiences with the Association have provided me the opportunity to work closely with staff and administration to resolve issues, cooperate on solutions, and safeguard member rights. I have been involved with contract negotiations, and have been asked to serve on several DSEA Task Force and focus groups. I began paying attention to, and getting more involved in, public education policy issues in 2008 with Governor Jack Markell’s announcement of significant pay cuts to all State Employees. I began my first Social Media campaign against the Governor’s plan. Within days my Facebook page had close to 3,000 members, and was a key factor in the formation of a coalition of state employee unions that countered Markell’s efforts. Our group was successful in changing the budget plans that year, and since then I have continued to get involved in school employees’ rights and student success.
I live in Brandywine Hundred with my wife and two children. I am a native Delawarean and am proud to have grown up and attended Wilmington schools. I look forward to working with everyone and building new momentum, energy and focus for our association. I believe that our schools can be the best in the nation, which will be a direct reflection of the great teachers and Education Support Professionals we have in Delaware. It would be a true honor to serve as DSEA president and ensure a bright future for all of us.
Donato C. Rufo