Finalist named in search for next Westerly superintendent of schools

Finalist named in search for next Westerly superintendent of schools


WESTERLY — After a search that included input from town and school officials, administrators, a teacher representative and parents, the School Committee has narrowed the superintendent search to a final candidate.

Mark Garceau, superintendent of the Oxford Public Schools in Massachusetts, will visit the district today. Committee Chair Diane Chiaradio Bowdy said Sunday that he was the School Committee’s “unanimous” pick out of the finalists.

Kim Sihavong, the district’s director of human resources, wrote in an email that the School Committee will meet Thursday “to review any feedback received and make a final decision as to how they are going to proceed.”

Students, parents and community members are invited to a meet-and-greet gathering with Garceau scheduled from 6 to 7 p.m. today in the Westerly High School gym.

Earlier in the day, Garceau will visit all schools and the central administration offices and attend a brief meeting with staff members.

“All stakeholders who have an opportunity to meet with Dr. Garceau who would like to share their feedback with the School Committee can do so by filling out the superintendent finalist feedback form,” Sihavong said, “and returning their completed form to Human Resources no later than end of day Wednesday.”

The School Committee has been working with a Massachusetts-based nonprofit, the New England School Development Council, to find a replacement for Roy Seitsinger Jr., who announced in February that he was leaving the Westerly Public Schools at the end of June.

According to his LinkedIn page, Garceau began his career in education as a music teacher and band director in 1989 in Cranston, where he later served as an elementary school assistant principal, then principal for five years. He also was the director of instruction and administration in Woonsocket in 2009 and was a Rhode Island support and evaluation model consultant for the Rhode Island Department of Education in 2011.

Garceau served as director of instructional services in Fall River, Mass., for two years before becoming the superintendent of the Oxford schools in 2014. Oxford, south of Worcester, has a total enrollment of about 1,700 students and includes two elementary schools, a middle and high school and an alternative educational program for grades 7 through 12.

When Oxford’s School Committee hired Garceau as the interim superintendent in 2014, then-committee chair Brenda Ennis said: “He seems to have a collaborative management style that impressed us. He has the kind of experience and leadership attitude that we need.”

Garceau, from the Providence area, earned a bachelor’s degree from the Berklee College of Music, master’s degrees in education and school administration from Rhode Island College, and a doctoral degree in education from Northeastern University.

In Westerly, the School Committee received 21 application packets for the opening, which were due by May 19, and in an effort to engage the community in the search for its new school leader, the School Committee formed a Screening Committee that included several members of the community to conduct interviews and recommend finalists to move on to second round interviews with the full School Committee.

Meet-and-greet with Mark Garceau

Students, parents and community members are invited to attend a meet-and-greet with Mark Garceau, the finalist for the district superintendent’s job, at the Westerly High School gym, Tuesday from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.

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