PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Interim Providence Superintendent Frances Gallo says the state’s largest school district is still in need of 84 new teachers ahead of the school year that starts in less than three weeks.
She said many of those vacancies are for English Language Learner (ELL) classes. About a third of Providence students are considered English learners.
After the interview, a spokesperson said there are 27 vacancies for ELL teachers out of 262 such positions.
The rest of the vacancies are spread out through Providence’s 41 schools, including elementary school teachers and high school math and science teachers.
Gallo made the comments during a wide-ranging interview with WPRI 12 about her first two weeks on the job as interim superintendent and preparations for the new school year. The full one-on-one interview can be viewed above.
“I’m really hoping to put out a call to anyone with a college degree who’s thinking they want to be a teacher, this is an opportunity,” Gallo said. “We definitely will be supporting emergency certification for the hard-to-fill areas.”
She said the district is especially looking for people of color and dual-language speakers.
Gallo added that the district is also seeking to hire building-based substitutes. Any vacancies that aren’t filled by the start of the school year will be covered by substitutes.
“It’ll be very difficult,” she acknowledged.
Gallo, the former Central Falls superintendent, came out of retirement temporarily to head up the Providence schools amid the fallout from the scathing Johns Hopkins report released in June.
Gallo is expected to be replaced by a superintendent installed by Rhode Island Education Commissioner Angélica Infante-Green later this fall as part of a state takeover of the school system.
Watch our full conversation with Superintendent Gallo about preparing for the school year in the video above.