During my final interview in East Greenwich, I was surrounded by several district-level folks. After answering the interview questions from the School Committee, the committee members opened it up to the other people at the table. One of them was put on the spot when a School Committee member asked: “Do you have any questions for our candidate?” After a moment’s pause, this individual said, “What do you want from the person in my role?” To be fair, I’m not naming the individual or the role.
I thought about it for a moment. “Your best ideas for how to move East Greenwich forward.” The individual looked at me, puzzled, as it is a noneducational role but still critical to our operations. The truth is, I have no idea where the next best idea for East Greenwich is going to come from.
In my experience, we too often think about schools and departments as silos. Perhaps it comes from the fact that as we go further up in our educational journey, we see more specialized content. Perhaps it’s just a fixture of education. Perhaps we can change that thinking.
In a meeting with East Greenwich Town Manager Andy Nota last week, he shared with me that there are eleven other departments that are a part of the town. We are one of eleven – granted, I think very highly of our department, and I’m humbled to stand on the shoulders of those who have come before me in East Greenwich. I also believe we have a very bright future, and it will take all of us to continue the academic excellence that our town is known for.
Maybe the next great idea for East Greenwich will come from a teacher. Maybe it will come from a School Committee member. Maybe it will come from a community member. Maybe it will come from a student. I genuinely don’t care where it comes from. I simply want it to come forward.
Starting this month, I will be holding office hours at our schools and in our community. The ones in the schools will be for any employee in that building. The ones in the community will be for any member of the community. There will be some in person, and some held virtually.
My door, phone, and e-mail inbox are all open. Feel welcome to reach out, and ask a question. I love coffee, a great deli sandwich, and the New York Yankees. We can talk about education, we can talk about sports, we can talk about who you are.
I want to know the best way to move the East Greenwich Public Schools forward and to continue the beautiful relationships that lead to the academic excellence this community is known for. Do you have an idea about how to do that?
I would love to hear from you and give you credit when we succeed!
Brian G. Ricca, EdD, is the superintendent of East Greenwich Public Schools.
Welcome, Dr. Ricca. You have a great school committee with you, and hopefully they will continue. Some citizens have previously commented, citing the average tenure of superintendents, but for what purpose? I’ve seen both great gains as well as great damage done in five years in several school districts during my 47 years in public education. Do your very best during whatever time you have to serve the students of East Greenwich. Welcome!