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7:30 p.m. - 9 p.m. Hope Valley

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Daniel Hyland
Steven Morrone, in his fifth year as principal of Ashaway Elementary School, will become assistant principal at the middle school tentatively set for Sept. 24. The school committee approved the transition Tuesday night, although formal approval won't come until the committee's next meeting. Dr. Kathleen Mort, a retired educator, will take over as Ashaway's principal until a permanent replacement can be found. ( Daniel Hyland / The Westerly Sun )

Ashaway principal moving to middle school administration

WOOD RIVER JUNCTION — Steven Morrone is doing what he tells his students to do every day: pursing his aspirations and setting goals.

Morrone, who is in his fifth year as principal of Ashaway Elementary School, will take a step toward achieving one of his major career ambitions in a few weeks when he takes over as the assistant principal of Chariho Middle School.

“One goal of mine is to work with middle school-aged students,” said Morrone, 32. “Working with teachers at the secondary level is part of my bigger dream of being a curriculum director and a researcher in education. With both of these, I can make a bigger impact and reach more students globally.”

The Chariho School Committee approved a transition plan at its meeting Tuesday night that includes the movement of Morrone to the middle school after former assistant principal Kristen Danusis left to take a job outside of the district.

The plan also includes the appointment of Kathleen Mort to Ashaway School. Mort has assisted the Chariho Regional School District in the past as an interim administrator.

The formal appointment of Morrone is expected at the School Committee’s meeting on Sept. 24, the same day Morrone is tentatively scheduled to start at the middle school.

“It’s a natural fit for him and the building,” said Chariho Middle School Principal Gregory Zenion, whose school has an enrollment of more than 1,000. “The assistant position is about teaching and learning curriculum. We’re very happy.”

Morrone has a bachelor’s degree in K-8 special education and elementary education from Rhode Island College.

He has a master’s degree in administration from Providence College.

This past summer, he spent time at Stanford University and met with Larry Cuban, an educational researcher, writer and Stanford professor.

“It was an inspirational moment for me,” Morrone said. “Since then, I knew I was ready to challenge myself more, therefore showing interest in the middle school position, which will focus on my passion of teaching and learning.”

Morrone, who lives in Westerly, interned at Springbrook Elementary School in Westerly with longtime principal Victor Ventura.

“Steven is an outstanding person, educator, and administrator,” Ventura said. “Through the years, I learned as much from him as he did from me. I understand completely why he was appointed to the position. His skills and experience will be a huge asset to the middle school students.

School Committee members voted unanimously on Morrone, with Chairman William Day saying, “I wholeheartedly support this move.”

Superintendent Barry Ricci said Morrone came to him about the position shortly after he learned of the vacancy.

“Principal Morrone is seeking new challenges,” Ricci said. “He will bring a deep understanding of relevant and rigorous curriculum and effective instruction to his new position. Steven’s strong leadership skills will enable him to assist educators at the middle school as they move students to make even greater gains in student achievement.”

Morrone said he will take with him everything he learned from his five years at Ashaway, including collaboration with teachers and work with families to invest in their children, which he said contributed to his and Ashaway’s “strong foundation.”

“Ashaway School will always be part of my journey,” he said, “and I am so thankful for having the opportunity to work with the school community in Ashaway.”

Added Ricci: “The Ashaway School community has been enriched by Steven’s presence. He will remain fully engaged with the Ashaway School faculty and staff and committed parents through this leadership transition.”

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