2018-07-05 / Front Page

Principal Appointed at Thompson

By Andy Long

Laurie Sullivan, who has worked in the Newport School District for three decades, was appointed principal of Thompson Middle School at a special meeting of the Newport School Committee on June 28. Sullivan spent the past year as interim assistant principal at the school.

One of two finalists for the position, she was appointed by a 5-2 vote (See “No Appointment for Thompson Principal,” NTW June 28, 2018). She will be offered a one-year probationary contract.

In an email to NTW, she reacted to the appointment. “I am completely honored to have been selected to oversee the school that I attended as a child and have spent my career working in. There are not many people who get a chance like this.”

Sullivan sees scheduling as her first priority this summer. “We have only two short months until the next school year begins. Initial work has been done on a new schedule. However, there is still a great deal that needs to be accomplished so we have a viable schedule for the opening of school,” she wrote in her email.

The school has lacked a full-time principal for two years since the illness of the late principal, Jamie Crowley. “They’re going through some major changes in that school right now…there needs to be a leader,” said Newport School Committee chair David Hanos, who had previously voted not to appoint Sullivan. “I feel we need to appoint a principal tonight.”

Sullivan echoed Hanos’ remarks in her writing. “On a more personal level, the TMS [Thompson Middle School] family has had a rough few years. I want to work to rebuild the positive momentum and joy that is so vital in a school community.”

Committee member Rebecca Bolan cast one of the opposing votes. “I’m going to be voting no tonight just because I still don’t believe we’ve waited long enough to figure out the finances,” she said.

Bolan was referring to recent revelations that the district would end the fiscal year with an estimated deficit of $154,000.

Committee member Sandra Flowers also addressed the budget. “May I assume that in the budget there are line items for principal and vice principal, so something’s there?” she said.

Raymond Gomes, who chairs the finance subcommittee, said that the money for the position is now being spent on the interim principal. “It’s budget neutral; the budget doesn’t change at Thompson,” he said.

“We need to appoint a principal at that school now,” Silvia said.

Return to top