THOMPSON –  A months long search that drew interest from candidates across New England and as far as Florida and Washington concluded on Tuesday (May 8) with the Thompson Board of Education unanimously selecting Melinda Smith to be the school system’s next superintendent.

On Monday (May 15), the Board of Education voted unanimously on a three-year contract for Ms. Smith.

“She has a clear vision, experience, and enthusiasm, and she has demonstrated a commitment to being both an instructional leader and someone who is committed to community engagement,” Board Chair William Witkowski said of Ms. Smith’s appointment.

Ms. Smith, of Pascoag, RI, earned her bachelor’s degree from Rhode Island College and holds a Master’s of Education from Providence College. She has served as superintendent of the North Providence Public Schools since 2012.

“I’m thrilled,” Ms. Smith said. “I’m really looking forward to getting involved in this community, in getting to know the teachers and staff, and working with the leadership team to help fulfill our goals.”

Ms. Smith said her entry plan includes meeting with teachers, principals, and directors both individually and collectively to hear from them first-hand what they feel needs to be done to improve the schools.

“I’m also going to be very involved in the community, parents and members of the community are going to get to know me well and I’m going to get to know this community very well, too. I feel its very important to be seen, to be available at school and community events and as superintendent, be a part of this community.”

Ms. Smith’s prior work experience includes serving as Director of Curriculum, Instruction, Assessment and Professional Development for the Lincoln Public Schools. She also brings experience as a former school principal and as the early childhood coordinator for the Lincoln Public Schools. Her career experience also includes serving as the director of early childhood programs for the North Attleboro, MA Public Schools and from 1983-1995, she was the director, teacher, and co-owner of Small Wonders Nursery and Daycare.

Ms. Smith takes over for Dr. Michael Jolin, who announced his retirement earlier this year, effective June 30. Ms. Smith’s first official day on the job is July 1.

“On behalf of our entire Board of Education, I want to thank the members of the screening committee for their involvement,” Mr. Witkowski said. “From the Thompson Public Schools: Assistant Principal Larry Prentiss, Executive Administrative Assistant Danielle Pederson, Athletic Director Deb Spinelli, and Physical Education teacher Elizabeth Ten Eyck and I also want to thank our parent volunteers Matthew Polsky and David Poplawski.”

With the guidance of the search firm Martin & Associates, the screening committee reviewed 15 applicant resumes most closely related to the district’s candidate profile and selected seven to interview. Those seven were interviewed in March and in April three finalists were presented to the Board of Education for review and possible hiring.