Providence Superintendent Resigns Abruptly

May 1, 2015

Susan Lusi was first appointed to lead Providence Public Schools in 2011.
Credit Elisabeth Harrison

Providence Superintendent of Schools Susan Lusi has announced she will not return for another school year. 

The announcement comes with only about two months left in the current school year. Superintendent Lusi declined to be interviewed for this story, but in a press release, says she wants to pursue other professional opportunities.

After four years leading Providence schools, Lusi touts improvements in the high school graduation rate and reading scores.

Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza says the school board will begin an immediate search for her successor. 

Elorza has called for greater efficiencies in the school department and more autonomy for principals. He has also praised the idea of turning schools into community centers that provide an array of services for students and their families. 

But some in Providence education circles have pointed out that Elorza's first budget essentially level-funds the school district. School leaders had hoped for additional funding.

Providence School Board President, Keith Olivera, said he was disappointed by Lusi's decision.

"She is the consummate professional. I think that she’s probably one of the most respected superintendents in our state," Olivera said. "Her leadership and direction, and the direction we’ve been going in, it will be an absolute loss for the students of this district and the employees of this district."

Some in Providence seemed caught off-guard by Lusi's announcement. Her name has been mentioned as a possible contender for the job of state education commissioner, but her office could not confirm whether she is a candidate.

Outgoing Rhode Island Commissioner of Education Deborah Gist offered this response to Lusi's resignation:

"Sue Lusi has been an advocate on behalf of the students in the Providence Public Schools and a valued partner in our work toward transforming education in Rhode Island. I wish Dr. Lusi the best in the next stage in her career, and I hope that Mayor Elorza will find a new superintendent who will continue to work in the best interest of Providence students and their families."