RI's Unofficial Interim Education Commissioner

Jun 15, 2015

Rhode Island Education Commissioner Deborah Gist has officially changed her job status on Facebook.

With Education Commissioner Deborah Gist posting on Facebook that she has left her her job, who is in charge of the Rhode Island Department of Education?

There is, of course, the State Board of Education and it's Council on Elementary and Secondary Schools. The board, chaired by bank executive Barbara Cottam, is continuing to meet and will, sooner or later, announce a successor to Gist.

In the meantime, it appears that Deputy Commissioner David Abbott is acting commissioner.

Abbott, who took over once before when Gist was receiving treatment for a brain tumor, responded to a recent request for comment using the title of acting commissioner of education.

According to RIDE Spokesman Elliot Krieger, Abbot's role as deputy commissioner includes the ability to run the department in the commissioner's absence.

Gist's official contract as state commissioner expires at the end of June, although she has already moved on to a position at the helm of Tulsa Public Schools. There has been much speculation about who the State Board of Education and Governor Gina Raimondo will name as the next commissioner of education.