Above: Alyson Powell, center, after she was elected to chair the School Committee Dec. 6. She is flanked by Committee members Clare Cecil-Karb and Gene Quinn.
Bucka elected vice chair
In the first meeting since three returning and one new member of the School Committee were sworn in for four-year terms, the panel voted 6-0 Tuesday night in favor of Alyson Powell as committee chair and Nicole Bucka as vice chair. There were no other nominations. Powell had served as vice chair under former Chairwoman Anne Musella, who did not seek reelection. Bucka, a relative newcomer to the committee after being elected in October 2021 to fill out a term, was the top vote getter in November out of the four who won seats, followed by Powell, Eugene Quinn, and the panel’s only new member, Clare Cecil-Karb.
After the meeting, Powell said it would be up to the committee to decide who should head the School Building Committee she has been leading for the past several years. She did not rule out maintaining the chair position for that committee, noting the School Committee chair not prohibited from chairing subcommittees as well. She did not say whether or not she wanted to keep that role, but said, “I don’t think I’m going to disappear from the building committee.”
In coming months, the School Building Committee subcommittee will be working on a district-wide construction plan to update current school buildings as well as potentially decommission Eldredge Elementary as a school and approve new school construction.
In other action, the committee approved the contract for Melissa Centracchio to serve as interim principal at Cole Middle School. This comes after the resignation of David Tober, who’s last day is Dec. 14 – he’s taken the athletic director position for North Kingstown. Centracchio has served as Cole assistant principal since 2020.
School Committee members offered their gratitude to Centracchio for her willingness to take on this position mid-year.
Supt. Brian Ricca said he would be interviewing candidates for Cole assistant principal this month and he hoped to be able to have a new person in place by the time school resumes in January after the holiday break. Centracchio and Patricia Page at the high school were both hired to finish out this school year only so Ricca will be looking to fill those positions as well as the Cole assistant principal position come July.