Rhode Island Education Commissioner

Catherine Welch

Governor Gina Raimondo began a series of what her office is calling "listening sessions" as part of the search for a new state commissioner of education.

Rhode Island Public Radio's Elisabeth Harrison reports the governor convened a group of teachers, principals, charter school leaders and district leaders for an invitiation-only event.

About 20 people gathered around tables in a Providence elementary school classroom to give feedback on the search for a new education commissioner.

The event was by invitation only, with guests hand-picked by the governor’s office.

Flo Jonic / RIPR

The state Board of Education returns to Rhode Island College Monday for the second day of a two-day retreat.  The meeting is aimed at educating board members about key topics that will be surfacing over the coming months. Initially they didn’t want to hold it in public.

Catherine Welch / RIPR

After hours of deliberation … and discussion with Rhode Island Education Commissioner Deborah Gist … the state's education board approved a new 2-year contract for Gist. The vote was 7 -3 with one abstention. Rhode Island Public Radio's Catherine Welch was there and has this report.

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

Rhode Island Education Commissioner Deborah Gist is likely to learn Thursday whether her contract is being renewed and for how long.

Deborah Gist has been a target of criticism lately from some teachers and students who say they don’t like her leadership style and they disagree with her focus on test scores. Now that her contract is expiring, there’s speculation the State Board of Education will offer a one-year extension, instead of a three-year contract. Gist says that would be difficult to accept.