2007-08-16 / Front Page

School panel votes in new administrative team

By Donna K. Drago

The School Committee approved several new hires, including a special education director, at a special meeting, held Tuesday night.

By a 4-0 vote, with William "Bucky" Brennan absent, the committee voted on several personnel issues, which included four resignations, three requests for leaves, six new hires and nine appointments of current personnel to additional roles.

Robert Fricklas was named to the position of director of student services, which heads up the Jamestown district's special education department. Fricklas was introduced to the audience by Principal Kathleen Almanzor, but was already recognized by some since he served in the same position in Jamestown from 1985 to 1990.

"He's not a stranger," Almanzor said about Fricklas, who has most recently served as the director of special education for the Northern Rhode Island Collaborative, and is also its assistant director. Fricklas has worked for several Rhode Island school districts including North Smithfield and the Chariho regional district, Almanzor said.

"It's like coming home," a beaming Fricklas said about his new job. He added, "I'm glad to be aboard." Fricklas will officially begin his stint in Jamestown on Sept. 5, he said.

Superintendent Marcia Lukon, who was attending the meeting on her first day as the head of Jamestown schools, told the audience that Fricklas had the unanimous support of the hiring committee that interviewed him.

Other new hires include Colleen MacIntyre, who will serve as a kindergarten teacher; Kristen Bennett, a grade 3 special educator; Brooke Grant, who was hired to a one-year post as a kindergarten intervention specialist. Jennifer Clark will serve as a math coach for a one-year term and Denise Florio was hired as a grade 4 severe and profound educator.

The School Committee accepted the resignations of assistant principal Michael Franco, school psychologist Steven Colucci, crossing guard Ethel Kitts and grade 3 teacher Erin Evans.

Leaves of absence were granted to Norma Gervais, a teacher assistant; Deborah Irwin, a kindergarten teacher assistant, and Carole Melucci, a grade 2 special educator.

Melucci was also endorsed by the committee to begin the aspiring principal program. Melucci, who has taught in Jamestown for two years, has been a teacher for 12 years in both Rhode Island and Connecticut. Supt. Lukon said that Melucci will serve in a leadership capacity in the upcoming school year and will take on some of the duties of the assistant principal.

Melucci took a leave of absence from her position as a teacher to "preserve her options if she ever wanted to return to teaching," under the present Jamestown teachers' union contract, according to School Committee Chairwoman Cathy Kaiser. Melucci will not be asking for time off under the leave and will start her aspiring principalship at the beginning of the school year.

Other appointments include Nick Alfred as cross-country, track and field coach, and as the technology coach at the Lawn school. The girls' basketball coach is David Pritchard. Kristen DeSantis will serve as the Student Council advisor and Maureen McGuirl was appointed to the positions of yearbook advisor and high school scheduler. The technology coach at the Melrose school will be Philip Capaldi and Karyn Kauffman will serve as the jazz band director.

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