WESTON, Conn. After 10 years in book publishing, Michael Mezzo decided it was time for a change. As one of Weston High's newest additions, he teaches English to freshmen and sophomores and honors humanities to seniors.
"I've always been an avid reader and writer. I've designed my adult life to fit my interests and talents," said Mezzo. "I have a lot of family in education ... and I was ready for a change."
Mezzo studied English as an undergraduate student and continued to work as a book editor for Little, Brown and Co. He left that career less than three years ago and earned his master's degree in teaching from Sacred Heart University.
"Working with a professional writer is not so different as working with a student writer," said Mezzo. "I'm very comfortable working with writers and holding up a mirror to what they have written."
He is "proud of all of all the books I published" but is especially proud of "A Fraction of a Whole" by Steve Tolts, which is a national bestseller. "I still read it again and again."
If he were to introduce his students to one of the books he published, Mezzo said he would choose "The Local News."
"It's a powerful story about a 15-year-old girl who is a square peg in a round hole who is too smart for her own good," he said. The character's brother, who is popular and does not get along with his sister, goes missing one night. "It's a transformative year for her. The author does a great job capturing the teenage voice without talking down."
Mezzo said English should have applications in all classes. "You don't learn books. You learn how to think and write using books," he said. "Being able to express yourself clearly should help in math, science, social studies and in life."
Mezzo worked for half a year in New Milford as an English teacher and for one year at Bethel High School before joining Weston's faculty. Outside of school, he enjoys writing, cooking and traveling as well as Italian and Spanish films.
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