State picks Tampa educator for Providence superintendent

Providence

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The Rhode Island Department of Education is set to tap a school administrator in Florida to lead the Providence Public Schools through its upcoming turnaround.

Harrison Peters, currently the chief of schools for the Hillsborough County Public School District, has been tapped for the job, multiple sources confirmed to Target 12.

The announcement will be made at an event Monday morning, said Meg Geoghegan, the spokesperson for RIDE.

“We are very excited to have him on board and plan to introduce him, as well as several new members of the team,” Geoghegan said.

Peters’ hiring was first reported by the Boston Globe.

Education Commissioner Angélica Infante-Green has been searching for a superintendent candidate since she made the decision last year to take control of the struggling Providence school district.

The so-called “state turnaround superintendent” will be tasked with implementing a turnaround plan for the school district, which has been in the spotlight since the Johns Hopkins University report was released last summer.

Peters is at least the second person offered the job, after a previous candidate fell through in the fall. RIDE officials have been tight-lipped since then about the superintendent search, although Infante-Green confirmed last week she was in talks with one candidate.

She initially wanted to have a superintendent in place by the time the state took over the school district on Nov. 1. In the interim, former Central Falls superintendent Fran Gallo came out of retirement to lead the district, but stepped down after working nearly 90 days in order to maintain her pension. Longtime administrator Dorothy Smith has been interim superintendent since December.

Infante-Green has been criticized by some parent and student groups for not having a more open process, or naming finalists for the public to weigh in on.

Emily Crowell, a spokesperson for Mayor Jorge Elorza, confirmed the mayor met with Peters recently.

Peters was recently in the running for superintendent in Hillsborough County, which includes Tampa, according to the Tampa Bay Times. That district publicly released its seven finalists, who were interviewed by the local school board. Peters was eliminated from the running to be superintendent in that district last week.

Steph Machado (smachado@wpri.com) covers Providence, politics and more for WPRI 12. Follow her on Twitter and on Facebook

Ted Nesi (tnesi@wpri.com) is WPRI 12’s politics and business editor and a Target 12 investigative reporter. He is a weekly panelist on Newsmakers and hosts Executive Suite. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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