2006-08-03 / Letters to the Editor

Restructuring Jamestown's school administration

At our June meeting, the Jamestown School Committee endorsed an administrative model with a part-time superintendent and a K-8 principal and assistant principal. Our choice of models was influenced by the results of our recent survey of the school constituency, which produced two strong directives: keep our middle grades in their community school and increase the rigor of its academics.

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. In addition, after the transition year, this model will be more cost-effective than our current administrative structure.

In the new model, the superintendent's office will be located in the school department's central office, at Melrose school. K-8 principal Kathy Almanzor and the assistant principal will share responsibility for Lawn and Melrose, sharing office space in the two schools to ensure a strong administrative presence in both buildings.

At tonight's meeting, the School Committee will vote on the appointments of Dr. Robert Power as superintendent and Michael Franco as assistant principal.

Dr. Power served as assistant superintendent and acting superintendent in the Newport School Department before retiring in 2005. As assistant superintendent, Bob was responsible for human resources, contract administration,

labor relations, negotiations, community relations, special projects, and districtwide discipline. In addition to his certification as a superintendent, Bob holds certificates as a teacher, special educator, principal, special education administrator, and curriculum/ instruction administrator - and has worked in most of these capacities! With his broad experience, versatility, statewide connections, and proximity (one token away), we think Bob is a great match for Jamestown.

Mike Franco has 30 years' experience as an elementary and middle-school teacher in South Kingstown. He taught most recently at Broad Rock Middle School, where he also served as an interim assistant principal. Mike has a strong record of working collaboratively and of providing a safe, nurturing and challenging environment for students. His connection to kids extends beyond the classroom to gymnastics, which he has coached since 1977.

We are confident that the restructured administration will afford the continuity and consistency needed to support quality instruction at our two schools and increase the challenge of our programming. We are deeply grateful to Kathy Sipala, who has laid the solid foundation upon which we now move forward. We wish her well in her new position as superintendent in neighboring Narragansett.

Cathy Kaiser,

chairwoman, Jamestown School


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