Who’s who, who’s new in Cranston Public Schools

Jen Cowart
Posted 8/27/15

Newly appointed Assistant Superintendent Norma Cole is no stranger to Cranston Public Schools.

An 18-year veteran of the system, Cole started out working in the city’s schools, spending two …

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Who’s who, who’s new in Cranston Public Schools

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Cole brings experience to role as assistant superintendent

Newly appointed Assistant Superintendent Norma Cole is no stranger to Cranston Public Schools.

An 18-year veteran of the system, Cole started out working in the city’s schools, spending two years at Horton Elementary and seven at Garden City Elementary before moving to Western Hills Middle School, where she spent three years as principal.

“It’s so much easier moving on in the same district, knowing everybody,” she said.

Throughout her tenure, Cole has been a big part of many educational firsts at the elementary level, including the implementation of the Response to Intervention (RTI) program and of special education inclusion programs. As a middle school principal, she gained new perspective and insight as to what goes on at the secondary level and continued to hone her skills for the future.

Most recently, Cole has spent the past six years as principal of Stone Hill Elementary School. As she transitions from being a building administrator to being a central administrator, she looks to the future with excitement.

“I’m looking forward to working with all of the schools and having an impact on curriculum and instruction,” she said. “I’m also looking forward to implementing new educational initiatives in the areas of professional development and the Common Core State Standards. This is an exciting time in education, teaching 21st-century skills. It’s so different from even 10 years ago. The path can be rocky, and it can be overwhelming, but we need to work together to find a way to navigate it so that it all makes sense for kids.”

Cole is excited to be a part of the current central office leadership team.

“We have a very cohesive leadership team, and it’s a humorful group of people,” she said. “I’m excited to be a part of it.”

Stone Hill alum DeSimone takes reins as new principal

Being appointed as the new principal of Stone Hill Elementary is a dream come true for Principal Danielle DeSimone, a graduate of the school.

“I could not have asked to have been placed in a better school,” she said. “I attended Stone Hill as a kid, and it’s been a walk down memory lane since I arrived. It’s been such a nice feeling.”

DeSimone attended Rhode Island College for both her undergraduate and graduate studies and began subbing in the Cranston Public Schools, both long and short-term, prior to getting her first position as a fifth-grade teacher at Horton Elementary School in 2004.

From there, DeSimone moved to Glen Hills Elementary School, where she remained until her transition to her new administrative role at Stone Hill. She succeeds Norma Cole, the district’s new assistant superintendent.

“I feel like the school has been left in such great hands, having had Norma here,” she said. “I really want to maintain the positive, safe and respectful school environment that’s been fostered here and I want to emphasize quality learning activities and instruction. Safety is my top priority, and manners are very important to me for both the staff and the students.”

As she has been settling in, DeSimone has gotten a special sense of excitement walking down the same hallways she walked down as a child and seeing the same classrooms she sat in years ago.

“I can remember being in these rooms, I can remember where I sat,” she said. “As I begin to meet people in our school community, it’s been such a nice feeling. Some of them know my family.”

With the school year about to get under way, DeSimone awaits the first day with anticipation.

“I am all about kids,” she said. “I want their learning experiences to be successful and effective.”

Central office staff
Superintendent: Jeannine Nota-Masse
Assistant superintendent: Norma Cole
Chief financial officer: Joe Balducci
Chief operating officer: Raymond Votto
Executive director of educational programs and services: Joseph Rotz
Executive director of pupil personnel services: Michele Simpson
Director of literacy: Susan DeRiso
Special education administrator: Ann Bouchard
Director of early childhood: Julie Driscoll
Special education administrator: Sandy Matoian- Heard
Transportation: Thomas Reali
Plant operations: Edward Collins
Executive director of SIS/data management: James Dillon
Director of technology: Donna-Marie Frappier
Energy manager: Karen Verrengia

Elementary school principals
Arlington: Michelle David
Chester Barrows: Katrina Pillay
William Dutemple: Beth Basile
Eden Park: Courtney Sevigny
Edgewood Highland: Marlene Gamba
Garden City: Tonianne Napolitano
Gladstone: Susan Buoanno
Glen Hills: Jay DeCristofaro
Hope Highlands: Roxanne Gustafson
Oak Lawn: Jim Zanfini
Orchard Farms: Kim Magnelli
George J. Peters: Patricia Caporelli
Edward S. Rhodes: Erica Stackhouse
Stadium: Cheri Sacco
Stone Hill: Danielle DeSimone
Daniel D. Waterman: Paul DePalma
Woodridge: Charlotte Josephs

Middle school principals
Hugh B. Bain: Jenny Chan-Remka
Park View Middle School: Michael Crudale
Western Hills: Timothy Vesey (interim principal)

High school principals
Cranston East: Sean Kelly
Cranston West: Tom Barbieri
Cranston Area Career and Technical Center: Gerry Auth
New England Laborers/Cranston Public Schools Construction and Career Academy: Dennis Curran

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