WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — Rhode Island’s second largest school district will soon be without a superintendent, after both finalists for the position removed themselves from the running.
Warwick ‘s current superintendent, Richard D’Agostino, will retire on Monday, and a replacement has not yet been found. D’Agostino was in the running for the permanent position, but both he and an educator from Massachusetts, who was also a candidate, have withdrawn from consideration, Mayor Scott Avedisian said.
He is now asking the School Committee to start the hiring process over, and in a more transparent way.
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“I think it’s time to start new,” he said. “We need to have a transparent process so that people will have faith and confidence in whatever decision they make.”
The vacancy comes at a chaotic time for the school department, amidst consolidation efforts and an investigation into how the district handled child abuse complaints against a teacher. Following a consultant’s report that said 40-percent of all school space was not being utilized, the School Committee recently voted to close two schools and consolidate them as the district’s enrollment declines.
Another recent report criticized the district’s handling of an incident in which a science teacher was accused of sexual assault.
“Restoring faith and confidence in the faculty and staff,” will be at the top of the new superintendent’s priorities, Avedisian said.
The School Committee’s Vice Chair, Eugene Nadeau, doesn’t think the committee will want to restart the hiring process, despite the mayor’s request. Instead, the committee will likely appoint another interim superintendent, Nadeau said.
The committee will meet Tuesday to consider their next steps.