Around New England

New Superintendent of Schools in Providence Touts Grandmother’s Discipline

January 27, 2020

The new head of the failing public schools in Providence, Rhode Island says he was raised by a grandmother who had a second grade education but a “doctorate in discipline.”

Harrison Peters, who has worked as a teacher, principal, and administrator, was named superintendent by the state’s education commissioner, because the city’s public schools are in such rough shape that they have been taken over by the state.

Peters is a U.S. Navy veteran.

He said he takes a trip at the end and beginning of every year to Houston to see a brother who is in prison and to Pensacola, Florida to “visit my brother who was lost to gun violence,” according to The Providence Journal.

Peters also sought the top job in Hillsborough County, Florida, where he worked most recently, and was endorsed by five politicians for superintendent there in part on the basis of identity politics. In a letter dated January 6 the politicians touted Peters’s “lived experience as a black man” and said “it would … be powerful … for children to see a leader at the very top of the organization who looks like them and whose experience mirrors theirs.”

Hillsborough County includes the city of Tampa, which is the county seat.

The letter was reported by The Tampa Bay Times.

Peters is scheduled to start in Providence on February 20. His three-year contract includes a salary of $225,000 a year, according to the Providence Journal.

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