Meet Federal Way school board candidate Jeremy Cucco

Jeremy Cucco - Contributed
Jeremy Cucco
— image credit: Contributed

After three days of posting the applications for the Federal Way Public Schools board of directors vacant position to the district website, the board narrowed the 12 eligibles down to five.dd

The District 5 board position became vacant after former board director Tony Moore resigned because he was convicted of felony theft last month.

Debra Stenberg, district spokeswoman, said legally the board can discuss qualifications of candidates for appointment to elective office in an executive session, however, no decisions or votes can be cast.

“Our legal counsel indicated that the best approach for narrowing the field is to discuss in executive session, then have a motion in open session to invite five for interviews,” Stenberg wrote in an email.

The five include Jeremy Cucco, Hiroshi Eto, Shelley Ko, Tanaya Lanning and Richard Champion.

After the executive session on May 22 at a regular meeting, board director Danny Peterson made a motion to move the five candidates, which was seconded by board vice president Geoffery McAnalloy.

Stenberg said the meeting’s notice was posted within 24 hours, the minimum requirement per state law, on the district’s website. The five applicants will be publicly interviewed on June 3, with a final decision expected on June 24 - to be announced at a public meeting.

The Mirror spoke with all five candidates. Here is more information about candidate Jeremy Cucco:

Jeremy Cucco

Background: Cucco and his family are newcomers to Federal Way after they moved here from the “other” Washington (D.C.) this past December.

“I had lived in Washington as a child in the 80s and we loved it and after spending about 15 years in Washington D.C., [we needed] to get a little closer to nature and sane people,” Cucco said, adding that he spent four months looking into the suburbs of Seattle for the perfect match. Cucco originally sought a bachelor’s degree in music performance for four years at the University of Mary Washington in Virginia but took some time off college to readjust. He soon returned to obtain a bachelor’s degree in network security and later acquired an executive certificate in business strategy in innovation from Massachusetts Institute of Technology at its Sloan School of Management.

Cucco’s 9-year-old son currently attends Silver Lake Elementary and has been involved in track and the science fair program.

Experience: Cucco has held different management positions throughout the years, with the most recent being with the U.S. Marine Corps.

“I learned the value of trusting your coworkers, the value of being able to accept what knowledge you don’t have and trusting people to help you,” he said, adding that the collective knowledge of individuals helped drive decisions that led to a multi-billion dollar savings on the U.S. Marine Corps’s Networking on the Move project.

But he’s also led community organizations as the president of the board of directors of the Fredericksburg Community Concert Band, where he oversaw fiscal and personnel growth. Cucco has also served as the executive director of the Rappahannock POPS Orchestra and supported the 2012 mayoral campaign for a Fredericksburg, Virg. candidate.

School district improvements: Cucco is very impressed with the district in coming from the East Coast.

“On the East Coast, I got a letter from the school system saying they’re going to discontinue the advanced reader program because they had no funding,” he said. “There’s a library and a school … the East Coast is very dependent on technology and the reason the program was cancelled was because they decided to outfit every single classroom with smart boards.”

But Cucco said the Federal Way district’s communication with parents could be better organized, noting that he and his wife will each get a text message, and if the phone rings after 5 p.m. “nine times out of 10, it’s the school system.”

Cucco would also like to see more nutritional lunches for the children, as opposed to “today’s pizza” because healthy children tend to perform better in school.

“I did have an opportunity to have my son enrolled in a different school and we took advantage of [the lunch],” he said, noting the lunch menu consisted of roasted turkey with tarragon and fresh roasted potatoes.


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