Pawtucket’s new superintendent no stranger to city’s schools

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PAWTUCKET, R.I. (WPRI) — Dr. Cheryl McWilliams may be Pawtucket’s new interim superintendent, but she’s already extremely familiar with the district.

McWilliams has not only spent her entire teaching career in the district, she was also a student there as a child.

As she takes on this new role, which she hopes to make permanent, McWilliams said she aims to tackle the challenges ahead.

“We all work together because we understand our community and we understand the needs of the community,” She said. “It’s about understanding the whole child. So, what does that student need? So, making sure we have high-quality curriculum. Making sure we have interventions and strategies that reach every child. Understanding that our city also has multi-language learners and making sure we have programs that reach that as well.”

Structural changes are underway in the district. Winters Elementary School is being demolished, with a new school set to open by 2021.

In addition, McWilliams said the district is implementing several new initiatives, including an opioid prevention course for eighth-graders.

“[We need to] have the courage to recognize where we are and how we need to move forward. And that takes courage,’ McWilliams said.

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