NORTH PROVIDENCE – Janine Napolitano, a 22-year veteran of North Providence Schools, including most recently as principal of Stephen Olney Elementary School, is departing the district to become the new supervisor of academic instruction at the William M. Davies Jr. Career and Technical High School.
“It’s kind of my dream job,” she said of the new position, saying she’s long wanted to get back to her roots in curriculum and instruction. When the opportunity presented itself, she said, she saw it as a perfect one for her to live out her passion working in curriculum and assessments.
Napolitano first worked as an English teacher at North Providence High School, then was named department chairwoman. She would later be named assistant principal at Birchwood Middle School before being promoted to principal at Stephen Olney, where she’s worked for the past eight years.
Asked what she will miss the most about schools in North Providence, the town where she lives, she said it will definitely be the people and the great teachers here, as a well as the wonderful relationships she’s developed with students and parents.
“It’s a great town, and great people in it,” she said.
One can never rule out a return eventually, she said, but for now she’s happy to be moving on to a new endeavor.
Among the achievements she said she’s most proud of are being part of the high school team that instituted educational reform there in 2001, including bringing in senior projects and writing curriculum to align it with standards, and working hard over five years to get a new Olney Elementary built, including serving on the committee, getting the bond passed, attending Town Council meetings to advocate for the project, packing up the building, moving to swing space, packing up again, and unpacking again.
“I’m so proud,” she said.
Supt. Joseph Goho said Napolitano will be leaving the district at the end of November after accepting the promotional position, fulfilling her lifelong passion and dream to focus on areas in which she’s excelled for her entire distinguished career.
“I had the privilege of recommending Janine to be hired as a teacher in North Providence when I was principal of the high school,” he said. “I then recommended her to become the English Department chair, a position where she led many initiatives that positively impacted student achievement, and remain in place to this day.”
During her tenure at the high school, Napolitano became a national Milken Award winner, one of the highest accolades for an educator, he noted. She has had “a tremendously positive impact on students” throughout her positions in the district, “and she has built many strong relationships with stakeholders throughout our school community. Without question, she will be greatly missed, though I am sure everyone joins me in wishing her well in this exciting career advancement to oversee curriculum and instruction, which has long been a goal of hers.”
School officials have posted the position and will be forming an interview screening committee to include the Stephen Olney School Improvement Team, said Goho.
“It is our hope to have a new principal in place as soon as we can find an outstanding candidate,” he said. “In the meantime, Lori Desimone, retired principal from Greystone Elementary, will serve as interim principal at Stephen Olney.”
Mayor Charles Lombardi said Napolitano is one of the most loved and respected principals in North Providence, and he is disappointed to see her go. He said he wishes the district could have done more to keep her here, but he wishes her well.
“I’m excited for her,” he said.