2006-08-03 / Front Page

School chief to be named tonight

By Donna K. Drago

The School Committee is expected to make two administrative appointments at tonight's meeting, which will begin at 7 p.m. in the Lawn school library.

Committee Chairwoman Cathy Kaiser said that they are expecting to appoint Dr. Robert Power, of Newport, as the district's new superintendent, and Mike Franco as the assistant principal.

In keeping with a new administrative structure announced at a June School Committee meeting, the new head of the island school district will be a part-time employee.

The day-to-day operations of the school will be managed by a full-time principal and an assistant principal, who will spend time at both school buildings.

"We believe that the new model will lead to greater continuity between our two schools and provide the opportunity to strengthen curriculum, instruction, and professional development at both," Kaiser said. After the transition year, the new model "will be more cost effective than our current administrative structure," she added.

Kathy Sipala, who served the Jamestown district for four years, left last week to take a school superintendent post in Narragansett.

Kaiser said that the hiring committee for the superintendent was comprised of the entire School Committee, plus Principal Kathy Almanzor, Special Education Director Beth Pinto, Business Manager Maria Alfred, and outgoing Superintendent Kathy Sipala. They interviewed three candidates for the advertised part-time superintendent position.

They were all recently retired Rhode Island superintendents, Kaiser said about the pool of applicants.

Dr. Power retired in 2005 as the assistant superintendent for the Newport School District, Kaiser said, adding that he is "very sociable" and is known for his networking skills. "He thinks out of the box," Kaiser said. "I think he will work very well" in the Jamestown position, she said.

Because he is a retired municipal employee, Power is subject to certain restrictions set by the state's pension board.

Kaiser said that he will only be able to work a maximum of 90, 8hour days per year, and he will be paid by the day with no benefits.

While she preferred to keep his exact compensation under wraps until the school board actually appoints Power, Kaiser said that his pay will be less than half of what the town paid the outgoing superintendent.

Whether Power will work 90 full days, 180 half days or some other combination remains to be seen, Kaiser said, noting that he "is very flexible," and "We'll have to see what fits into his schedule."

Power is expected to begin his position on Aug. 7, Kaiser said.

The school board is also expected tonight to appoint Mike Franco the new assistant principal. He has 30 years experience as an elementaryand middleschool teacher in South Kingstown. He taught most recently at the Broad Rock Middle School and also served as an interim assistant principal.

Asevere/profound special educator is also expected to be appointed at tonight's meeting, which only has the three personnel appointments on its agenda.

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