PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Rhode Island officially has a new education commissioner.
The R.I. Board of Education and the Council on Elementary and Secondary Education voted Tuesday to hire Angélica Infante-Green to oversee the state’s public schools. The terms of her contract have not been finalized, but outgoing Commissioner Ken Wagner earned $212,000 a year.
Infante-Green, a Dominican-American who was raised in New York, comes to Rhode Island from the New York State Education Department, where she served as a deputy commissioner. She is considered an expert on English language learners and previously worked in the New York City Department of Education.
Tuesday’s vote was largely a formality considering Gov. Gina Raimondo, Board of Education Chairwoman Barbara Cottam and Council on Elementary and Secondary Education Chairman Daniel McConaghy all publicly backed Infante-Green last week.
Raimondo introduced Infante-Green to Rhode Island during a State House press conference last week, calling her a “fierce fighter for children.”
In an interview last week, Infante-Green said Rhode Island is in “a good starting place” because the state already has high standards and a quality assessment, so she doesn’t see a need for overhauling existing programs. She also said she expects to craft a blueprint for English language learners and a Parents’ Bill of Rights, two strategies she helped lead in New York.
Infante-Green comes to the state months after results on the Rhode Island Comprehensive Assessment System (RICAS) exam showed only 34% of students in grades three through eight were proficient in English language arts and 27% were proficient in math. She has said the scores speak for themselves.
Her first day on the job is expected to be at the end of April. Wagner has accepted a position at the Annenberg Institute at Brown University.