By Elizabeth F. McNamara
The scene in the library at Cole Middle School was jubilant Tuesday night when School Committee Chair Carolyn Mark named Alexis Meyer as the committee’s choice to serve as the district’s next superintendent, with colleagues, parents, and family members erupting in cheers and applause.
The School Committee voted 7-0 to appoint Meyer. She will succeed interim Supt. Frank Pallotta. Former Supt. Victor Mercurio, who was there Tuesday for the announcement, left the district at the end of December after 10 years in the position.
The decision was a vote for continuity.
Meyer, an East Greenwich resident, has worked for the school district in a variety of roles for 25 years, from paraprofessional to teacher to vice principal to principal to her current role as director of teaching and learning.
“I want you to know that every day, every day, I will come to work solely focused on the children in this district. Every child, every day. All means all,” Meyer said during brief remarks after the vote. “The business of schooling especially for our district is excellence in teaching and learning. We will never veer from that vision.”
She added, “I am so humbled. The responsibility is not lost on me in this position.”
“You don’t start out as an educational assistant and become a teacher, an assistant principal and a principal, and the director of teaching and learning without having an extraordinary growth mindset and a commitment to rise to every challenge that gets put before you,” said Mark about Meyer. “Every time she’s been given the opportunity to shine, she has shined.”
Frenchtown 2nd grade teacher Donna McPhee said she was very pleased with the committee’s decision.
“We took on a new curriculum this year and I’ve felt more supported this year taking on this challenge and we feel more together than I have in a long time,” said McPhee. “She’s brought a great feeling to the faculty. Anything that’s new can be challenging, but she’d found a way to help us feel supported as we do it and feel confident in her leadership.”
The search process was led by consultant Joe Erardi, who said Tuesday there had been 24 candidates, of which the School Committee and an advisory committee comprised of district employees and parents interviewed 9 in first-round interviews. Four of those were already superintendents; four were from different states. The School Committee and advisory committee interviewed three semi-finalists before the School Committee narrowed the search to Meyer.
Meyer grew up in East Greenwich and was a member of the EGHS Class of 1974. She has a B.A. in education from URI and M.Ed. in education administration from Providence College. She taught social studies at Cole for 10 years, then served as Cole assistant principal from 2006-09 and principal from 2009-18 (with a fellowship with the state Dept. of Education in 2016-17). She was appointed director of teaching and learning in 2018.
She will begin May 1. She has a two-year contract, with a salary of $150,000 (Mercurio’s ending salary was $163,000).
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