Seitsinger named schools superintendent in Preston after Westerly retirement

Seitsinger named schools superintendent in Preston after Westerly retirement


Roy Seitsinger Jr.

WESTERLY — Superintendent of Schools Roy Seitsinger Jr., who is leaving the district at the end of June, was named the new superintendent in Preston, Conn., Monday night.

On Tuesday morning, Seitsinger said taking the superintendent’s job in the Preston school district is “the best decision for my family, for sure.”

Seitsinger announced in February that he was retiring, and mentioned that he wanted to spend more time with his family. As it turned out, however, he decided to apply for the Preston job within weeks of his Feb. 15 retirement announcement. He called Preston “a small district in a wonderful part of Connecticut with a commitment to quality education.”

“I could not pass up this rare opportunity to continue to work closely with kids, teachers and administrators,” he said, “and still achieve my wish to streamline” his work-family life.

Preston’s Board of Education unanimously voted Monday night to name Seitsinger its new district leader beginning at the end of July. He was initially one of 14 candidates for the position, and then was one of three finalists. Seitsinger, who is 62 and lives in West Warwick, will replace Superintendent John Welch, who is leaving at the end of the school year.

“I’m so thrilled for Roy as he enters this next phase,” Westerly School Committee chairwoman Diane Chiaradio Bowdy said, “and certain that the community of Preston will appreciate the talent, expertise and demeanor he will bring to improving their district.”

The move to Preston represents a downsizing for Seitsinger. The district operates an elementary school and a middle school and has a budget of just over $11 million. Westerly’s budget is more than $54 million.

An article in The Day newspaper quoted Seitsinger as saying, “I wanted to come to a place where there is still energy and a closeness to kids. I wanted to be closer to the kids ... there are certain places that are very, very attractive, and this is one of them.”

The Preston board approved a three-year contract for Seitsinger at an annual salary of $138,000.

“We are delighted that Dr. Seitsinger will be leading the Preston schools,” Jan Clancy, the chairman of the Preston Board of Education, said. “While I do not presume to speak for everyone on the board, I must say that among the qualities that made Dr. Seitsinger my choice for superintendent are his recognition of each child as a person before being a student ... his outreach to the community. He listens to staff, parents, and community members because he knows that only by listening can situations be resolved.”

Clancy also said she liked “his passion for education and family. He is active is professional organizations so that he remains current on issues that impact student learning.”

Seitsinger has been Westerly’s superintendent since 2010, and his tenure has been marked by a number of achievements. The high school was recently ranked among the 10 best high schools in Rhode Island, according to U.S. News & World Report’s latest Best High Schools list, and the preschool program has received a five-star ranking.

The Tower Street School Community Center, established under his watch, is the only such facility in Rhode Island, and the district has been a leader in implementing advanced-study and career training options, including a Pathways in Technology Early College program in advanced manufacturing.

“Westerly has been wonderful,” Seitsinger said. “I am very proud of the things our team and community have accomplished over the years.”

In Westerly, the School Committee continues to work with Massachusetts-based nonprofit New England School Development Council, or NESDEC, to find Seitsinger’s replacement. Bowdy said the committee is looking to hire a new superintendent by the end of the school year.


School Committee members are asking residents to complete an anonymous survey to provide input regarding the characteristics they believe to be important in the next superintendent. The link for the survey can be found on the Westerly Public Schools website or go to The survey will close Monday, May 8, at noon.

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