Hart looks forward to role helping students

Hart looks forward to role helping students

The new Scituate Middle and High School Vice Principal Colleen Hart said it is “awesome” to be able to oversee both schools. Her pup, Chewbacca, assisted her in moving into her new office, but will not be attending classes. (Breeze photo by Jacquelyn Moorehead)

SCITUATE – A unique role calls for a unique person to fill it, say Scituate school officials.

When doors open for the first day of school on Tuesday, Aug. 28, students at Scituate Middle and High Schools will be joined by the new joint-level vice principal, Colleen Hart.

Through the administrative office in the high school building, past high school Principal Michael Hassell’s desk, sits Hart, who began just after her July 10 School Committee appointment.

Pawing around the newly painted light blue office is her cocker spaniel-poodle mix, Chewbacca, who lives with her in North Kingstown.

Hart finished her master’s of education in administration degree at Providence College in May, interning with Middle School Principal Tonianne Napolitano. Returning to the school means joining the “open and welcoming” atmosphere that Napolitano and Hassell have created, she said.

Hart said it’s hard to tell just yet where her position will bring her, but she said the role is a good fit with her dedication to K-12 education.

“It’s a very unique situation,” she said of overseeing two schools.

Passionate about students in the middle and high school age range, Hart said she is excited to be immersed in the culture of both schools, and hopes to assist middle school students in adjusting better to high school.

“It’s really awesome, I get to know the students (in grades 6-12). Where else can you say that?” Hart said.

Joining Supt. Carol Blanchette, who began in June this year, Hart joins an administrative staff full of people new to their positions. With Napolitano starting at the beginning of the 2017 school year, and Hassell the year before, she said the strength in the Scituate school district is “embedded in the leadership.” She said the collective mindset will help push her and the district forward.

“It’s nice being a part of a team not set in their roles and not as established in their ways,” Hart said.

She said she is eager to begin working with the administrative staff and school board.

Coming from Cranston High School East where she taught math for the past six years, and was a class adviser for the last two years, she said she is happy to bring her energy to Scituate.

Much of her time counseling in Cranston was spent transforming a system dependent on punishing students to one where learning was placed above all else. Hart said she brings that focus on identifying and paying attention to struggling students.

“I want to build positive relationships with students, keep letting them know that someone is rooting for them and cheering them on,” she said.

The Scituate culture is reminiscent of East Greenwich where she grew up, said Hart, so in a way moving to Scituate is like returning to her roots.

Hart is a graduate of East Greenwich High School, and holds a bachelor’s in secondary education and math from the University of Rhode Island with an endorsement in middle school education.

Though she started out studying to teach elementary school, Hart said she quickly realized she wanted to pursue middle and high school education.