Morisseau excited to be ‘new kid in school’

Morisseau excited to be ‘new kid in school’

North Providence’s new superintendent is Bridget Morisseau, who currently serves as assistant superintendent in Smithfield. Morisseau was appointed by the North Providence School Committee last week, where members praised her work in Rhode Island education over the years. Her first official day serving the district is July 1.
Smithfield’s assistant superintendent chosen to lead North Providence schools

NORTH PROVIDENCE – Bridget Morisseau says she’ll have the “first day of school butterflies” when she takes over as superintendent of schools in North Providence.

It’s a feeling that’s never gone away for her: being so excited that it’s hard to sleep the night before the big day.

Morisseau, a North Smithfield resident, was appointed to lead the district at last week’s School Committee meeting, where board members praised her work in Rhode Island schools over the years. She’s held roles in higher education, special and elementary education, instructional coaching and also served as a Title I family coordinator.

Morisseau currently serves as assistant superintendent in Smithfield, a position she’s held for seven years after working as principal of William Winsor Elementary in the town.

When Morisseau was appointed at the Wednesday, May 10, School Committee meeting, she told board members she could not wait to “link arms” with them, and said, “I won’t let you down.”

Morisseau will transition from serving Smithfield, a town with about 2,500 students and six schools, to North Providence, where student enrollment is at 3,546 for the town’s nine schools.

“I’m the new kid in school right now,” Morisseau said.

The mother of two said she’s looking forward to familiarizing herself with the North Providence community, and learning not just who colleagues are as educators, but as people.

She plans to focus first on building relationships, learning about the strengths of the district and the challenges North Providence faces. Morisseau said she’ll rely on the staff and administrators in North Providence for their institutional knowledge.

One of the reasons she decided to apply to the North Providence role, she said, was the community support of the $75 million bond referendum for school construction and repairs in the district, where school and town officials backed the move.

“That, right there, told me that this is a community that values education,” she told The Breeze.

During Morisseau’s tenure in Smithfield, schools have repairs and renovations, so she said she’s familiar with the facility improvement process. She’s read both the “Stage 1” and “Stage 2” plan for North Providence schools, which includes the construction of two new elementary schools and improvements at the remaining school facilities in town.

Most newly appointed superintendents don’t have the opportunity to step into that type of project, Morisseau said. She described the construction plans as thoughtful, and said she’ll ensure teachers have the resources they need and timelines are met with the project.

“I feel very fortunate,” she said, adding that it’s also important to preserve the history of education in the town and celebrate how far North Providence has come.

With initiatives already in place and a foundation built by current leaders of the school district, Morisseau said, she feels she can offer the community strong leadership and experience.

“We could take North Providence to even greater heights,” she said.

While she’s thrilled to work with staff and parents, Morisseau said, “I can’t wait to meet the kids. I’m happiest when I’m in the school.”

This year’s Smithfield High School graduation will be more bittersweet than most, Morisseau said, as she’ll see former students walk by the graduation stage to clutch their diplomas.

At every graduation or big event in town, Morisseau said, “I look out and I feel immense pride, because I know that in some small way, I had a part in the success of those students.”

The North Smithfield resident said she has “tremendous gratitude” for her experiences in Smithfield, and said the district has prepared her for this next step in her career.

“I’ve been very lucky to establish roots there,” she said.

The assistant superintendent said, “It’s been a great place to be for a long time.”

Now, Morisseau said, she’ll be able to expand her horizons and “spread her wings” in a new community with many projects in the works.

“I feel like I hit the lottery,” she said.