Above: Supt. Alexis Meyer and Eldredge Principal Dan Seger at Eldredge on the first day of school in Sept. 2020, when students were returning to the classroom for the first time since March 20, 2020.
EGSD Supt. Alex Meyer said Saturday she will retire at the end of her contract April 30, 2022. Her announcement comes after less than two years on the job, which she took in February 2020, just weeks before the COVID-19 pandemic led to school closures and an unprecedented switch to total online learning.
“My husband and I privately came to this decision a few months ago. I have reached a point in my life where I want to spend more time with my family. They have been so supportive and understanding of the time demands of my career. While I look forward to retirement and more time with family and friends, I will dearly miss being a part of the East Greenwich educational community. This has not been an easy decision on both a personal and professional level. Perhaps the hardest part of a decision to retire after so many years is letting go. It is especially difficult when you have grown to love so much of what you do, and who you do it with,” Meyer wrote in a letter posted in her weekly Field Memo (find the full letter here: Faculty-Staff-Community Retirement Letter).
Meyer started her career in the East Greenwich school system in 1995, as a paraprofessional at the then-named Cole Junior High. She then got a job teaching social studies at Cole, a job she held until she was named Cole’s assistant principal in 2006, then principal (of what was by then Cole Middle School) in 2009. She was appointed the district’s director of teaching and learning in 2018.
At the time of her appointment to the superintendent’s position, the district had been led by Victor Mercurio for 10 years. Although the School Committee held a national search, they settled on Meyer to lead the district, with then-Chairwoman Carolyn Mark noting Meyer’s “extraordinary growth mindset.”
“Certainly, she will leave a hole in the district that can’t be replaced by any other individual,” said the School Committee’s current chair, Anne Musella, on Saturday. Meyer grew up in East Greenwich, graduated from East Greenwich High School in 1974 and has lived here for most of her adult life. “The mark she has left on thousands of students is indelible. We are so grateful for her more than 25 years of service to the community and we will miss her.”
Musella also remarked on Meyer’s tenure overlapping with the pandemic. Meyer oversaw the move to distance learning in March 2020 and the gradual return to full in-person school that started in September 2020, having to navigate COVID safety protocols and the challenges of distance, hybrid and in-person learning.
“I don’t think there is any one individual who could have led this district through COVID better than Alexis Meyer. That is due to the relationships she’s built in this community and the trust she’s engendered as a person and a leader,” said Musella. “We have been extraordinarily fortunate to have her at the helm.”
Musella said next steps would be determined by the School Committee as a whole, but that they would probably consider hiring an interim superintendent to complete the 2021-2022 school year. The School Committee’s next meeting is Tuesday, Oct. 19.