2007-08-30 / News

Dr. Bob returns to special ed. post

By Donna K. Drago

Robert Fricklas, Ph.D. Robert Fricklas, Ph.D. Robert Fricklas, Ph.D., said that island students who attended the Jamestown school during the late 1980s will likely remember him as the guy who did the morning announcements.

The affable Fricklas, who said everyone calls him "Dr. Bob," said he had the most fun messing with the daily lunch menu- especially the "flavored rice" offering, for which he made up some unlikely combinations. During a Dr. Bob announcement it was fairly typical for students to hear that they'd be served "licorice lasagna," or "butterscotch macadamia rice," he said, adding that he got a kick out of doing the job and he wouldn't mind a bit if he was asked to take on the role once again.

Fricklas served as the island's special education director from 1985 to 1990, and though he left to take a better position with the Chariho district, Fricklas said that he'd always regretted his decision. No matter where he has taught since, Fricklas said "you can't replace the collegiality and intimacy," of the small island school system. He said he got a "raise in pay and a boost in title," but lost the "tight-knit community where kids come first."

Fricklas, a resident of North Kingstown, said that moments after learning the Jamestown post was available, he updated his resume, and "got ready to market myself," for a job he wanted back. "I got my application in ASAP," Fricklas said.

Now that he is back at the island district, Fricklas said he is looking forward to reconnecting with teachers who he once worked with, as well as meeting all the new staff members and the students he will serve.

The role of director of pupil services includes being the special education director as well as overseeing all Section 504 activity, English language learning, as well as nursing services and serving as the liaison to North Kingstown High School, Fricklas said.

Prior to coming back to Jamestown, Fricklas was the assistant director as well as the special education director for the Northern Rhode Island Collaborative, in Cumberland, for four years. He held a similar position in the North Smithfield school district from 1997 to 2003 and also worked for the Meeting Street Center, the South Kingstown School Department as well as the Chariho district, Fricklas said.

Fricklas is married to May and has two adult children. Erica is an occupational therapist in Maine and Ethan is a rehabilitation/ergonomic engineer at Duke University.

Fricklas noted that it is "very gratifying," that both his children chose careers in the field of helping those with disabilities.

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