PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza said Friday he intends to extend the contract of school Superintendent Dr. Susan Lusi through the end of the 2015-16 school year.
Lusi, whose contract was slated to end July 31, has a clause in her existing deal that automatically triggers a one-year extension if the school board doesn’t notify her that it will not renew her contract by Jan. 31.
“Dr. Lusi is a respected educator who brings great energy and expertise to her work leading the Providence schools, and the continuity of her leadership is important,” Elorza said in a statement. “Dr. Lusi shares my vision of reforming the role of central administration and directing all available resources to our classrooms, and my commitment to engaging the community, raising academic achievement in every school and creating a school department that just works for all students and families.”
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Lusi was named interim superintendent for the 2011-12 school year and given a three-year contract in May 2012 after serving as superintendent of Portsmouth schools. She previously worked in Providence as the school department’s chief of staff under former Superintendent Diana Lam.
In addition to her $197,500 salary, Lusi’s contract states that she is eligible to earn a performance bonus of up to 10% of her salary if the school board determines she has achieved certain goals. A spokesman for the mayor said Lusi agreed to forgo a bonus “given the challenging budgetary environment.”
Lusi is also eligible for 30 vacation days each year and receives a vehicle allowance of $400 per month.
Lusi is widely credited with providing stability in a school district known for frequent superintendent turnover. Under her watch, the district has been nationally recognized for its work around early-childhood education. The district has also focused on reducing chronic absenteeism rates across the city.
“I am excited about staying to continue the work in Providence Schools,” Lusi said. “I am grateful for the support I have received from the Providence School Board, staff, families and partners throughout my time here and look forward to continuing our shared work. I know that with the leadership and support of Mayor Elorza and his administration, we will dramatically improve the education of each and every child in Providence.”
Separately, the school board will have a new president when it meets next week. Because the term of School Board President Keith Oliveira ended in December, Vice President Nick Hemond will lead the mayoral-appointed panel until it votes on a new president.
Elorza is expected to reappoint Oliveira to the board.Dan McGowan ( email@example.com ) covers politics, education and the city of Providence for WPRI.com. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter: @danmcgowan