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Barberi to Become Principal at Cranston West

Thomas Barbieri, principal at Hugh B. Bain Middle School, is expected to be appointed Principal of Cranston High School West by the School Committee tonight.

The School Committee is expected to appoint Thomas Barbieri, currently serving as principal of Hugh B. Bain Middle School, as principal of Cranston High School West at .

Barbieri will be replacing outgoing principal Steven Knowlton, who is leaving the district at the end of the year.

Barbieri was named Middle School Principal of the Year last year by the Rhode Island Association of School Principals and has been working in the Cranston school district in 1991.

He became principal at Bain in 2005. He first began his career in Cranston at Bain in 1991. During his career, he’s been a teacher and an assistant principal as he floated around the district. More than half of his career was spent at Bain, though, and he says that’s part of the reason he’s been able to turn the school around from a low point in the mid-to-late 1990s.

“The school’s culture was at its knees,” Barbieri said in an interview last year.

As assistant principal at Bain, Barbieri was part of a team assembled to try to begin a turnaround process. The school was under caution status from the state Department of Education. They developed a strategic plan and went door-to-door to get the entire school community on board.

The effort began to show signs of progress, but there were setbacks along the way, mostly because of turnover. Bain couldn’t hold onto a principal for very long, and the school soon had gone through its third principal in just a few years when Barberi finally took over in 2005.

“One of the first things I did was sit down and make a promise to everyone that they were going to see consistency.”

Today, Bain is listed as a High Performing school by RIDE — the highest designation for a school. For the last few years, Bain students have consistently scored above the state average on standardized tests. As scores have climbed, absenteeism has plummeted. The suspension rate, which stood at 15 a month, is down to one or two a month. Twenty-one students a day on average used to be late in the morning. Now that figure is down to four.

“And that’s not good enough,” Barberi said. “The day that we’re satisfied where we are, once we’re content, is the day we settle for mediocrity.”

Ex Cranston Resident May 21, 2012 at 12:09 PM
Cranston schools are so poor I pulled my children out of all of them. No experience with Bain, but West is a nightmare, too. Hope he can pull it off.
Joanne maslen May 21, 2012 at 11:29 PM
Mr Barberi is a wonderful principal and I believe he will be a positive asset to West. I wish he was our school districts Superintendent I think we would have a great person in charge of our city school if he was hired for that position. Mr. Barberi knew all his students and I was honored to have him for my kids. He is a caring, real person who respected his students, staff and parents.
CMG May 22, 2012 at 05:03 PM
I hope he can pull it off too....I'm sorry I'm moved to Cranston for the school system 20 years ago...not knowing what a nightmare it was going to be at West.
Joanne maslen June 25, 2012 at 07:20 PM
It is a night mare in our city but maybe change will take place when Nero is gone and hopefully appointments will be brought in but not the "good ole boy" getting the positions any more. I would take any recommendation from Nero with a grain of salt.
Lillian Craft November 14, 2012 at 07:53 PM
What has happened to West?? It is not even close to what it was. Burned out and apathetic faculty is one factor.
Goes to West and hates it December 15, 2012 at 02:19 AM
West is a school for a bunch of annoying rich snobs. Unless your there for the vocational center.
Mark Lestrange January 17, 2013 at 12:51 AM
HAHAHA so true.

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