McNeil moves to LMS from McCourt assistant principal post

McNeil moves to LMS from McCourt assistant principal post

John McNeil greets those in attendance at Monday’s School Committee meeting after it was announced he has been named assistant principal of Lincoln Middle School. He currently serves in that role at McCourt Middle School in Cumberland. (Breeze photo by Nicole Dotzenrod)
Lincoln School Committee also honors retirees

LINCOLN – John McNeil was appointed assistant principal of Lincoln Middle School at Monday night’s School Committee meeting. McNeil has served as assistant principal of McCourt Middle School in Cumberland since last August.

He said while the opportunity for growth is better for him in Lincoln, he’s “having a hard time leaving Cumberland.”

“I am looking forward to my future in Lincoln but look back with great fondness and a heavy heart leaving Cumberland,” he told The Valley Breeze, noting the respect he has for McCourt Principal Jason Masterson.

“I feel that Lincoln is an up-and-coming district, especially with the addition of Larry Filippelli. He’s really the reason I wanted to move,” McNeil said of Lincoln’s incoming superintendent of schools, who was a professor of McNeil’s at Providence College.

McNeil said he was also looking forward to the opportunity to work with the middle school’s new principal, TJ Mellen, the former principal of Ricci Middle School in North Providence, where McNeil lives with his family. Though he has not yet met Mellen, McNeil said he’s familiar with the work he’s done at Ricci and that they have similar educational philosophies.

McNeil started his career as a history/social studies teacher at the high school and McCourt, later serving as a dean. He was named assistant principal last year.

“I’d like to grow and stay in Lincoln and be a legacy employee there,” he said.

Also at the June 11 meeting, the School Committee honored several school employees who are retiring as the academic year comes to an end, including: Robert Wilmarth, who maintained Lincoln schools for 20 years; Linda Valentine, Lincoln High School custodian of 39 years; Kimberly McGowan, of Northern Elementary and Lincoln Middle School; Mary Ann Mignacca, school nurse teacher of 23 years; Laurie-Jean Ciosek, first grade teacher for 28 years; and Lori Miller, school business administrator since 1999.

The committee also honored outgoing Lincoln Supt. Georgia Fortunato as she prepares to leave the district after nearly 37 years in Lincoln Public Schools.

Chairwoman Kristine Donabedian said, “You provided continuity in a time we most needed it,” thanking Fortunato for her “boundless energy and passion” and for always serving with a student-focused agenda.

“Our students and families have benefited from your professionalism as an administrator,” said school board member Mary Anne Roll. “I’ll remember your personal warmth and genuine concern for students who come in the door every day. Your smile has been the light in our community for so long … it will be missed.”

Fortunato told those in attendance she never imagined she’d retire as superintendent of schools. She said Lincoln will continue to be a “district on the move” under the leadership of Filippelli.

“The decisions we’ve made have always benefited the group we’re here for: the students,” she said. “No matter what differences anyone had, at they end of the day, they were able to put them aside to do what’s best for the students.”

“I leave Lincoln with the same energy that I did as a 22-year-old at the start of my career,” she added. Until June 29, said Fortunato, she will continue to love her job, “and I will always, always be a Lincoln Lion.”