EDU Commissioner Gist: Contract Less Than Two Years Difficult to Accept

Jun 4, 2013

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

Education commissioner Deborah Gist will likely find out if her contract has been renewed this week.
Credit Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

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.

"That would be very challenging because it’s just not enough time to feel like you know we’re in this together and we’re going to forward productively. It feels like before you knew it we’d be turned around having to have the conversation again," said Gist.

Gist has strong support from state officials and business leaders who say her tough stand on issues like teacher evaluation has Rhode Island schools headed in the right direction.

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