With a 7-0 vote Wednesday evening, the School Committee officially appointed Robert Mitchell as Superintendent of Schools.
Mr. Mitchell, a former teacher, coach, and principal, has served as assistant superintendent in Cumberland for the past four years.
"Bob Mitchell is a well known commodity, an extremely talented leader, and someone who has been sought after by other school districts in recent years," said School Committee Chair Lisa Beaulieu. "Bob knows Cumberland extremely well, knows our strengths and areas where we need to improve, and has demonstrated he is more than qualified and more than ready to continue the vision that we have for our school system."
Mr. Mitchell said he is honored to be named superintendent.
“I understand the tremendous responsibility associated with being the superintendent of schools,” he said. “ I have high expectations for myself and everyone connected to the Cumberland school system including students and staff. I promise you that we will hold one another accountable to improving the quality of teaching and learning in our district.”
Mr. Mitchell’s first day as superintendent is Oct. 19th. He replaces Dr. Phil Thornton, who resigned earlier this month to accept the superintendency of Warwick Public Schools.
“I want to thank Dr. Thornton for the strong foundation that he has established here,” Mr. Mitchell said. “He is the most supportive leader I have worked with in my 32 years in education. He has put together a strong, incredibly talented, highly qualified, and like-minded team that will continue to improve the quality of teaching and learning in the district.”
Ms. Beaulieu said Mr. Mitchell’s vision for the school system is exciting. “I think Dr. Thornton brought us to this level and Bob is the right leader to bring us to the next level,” she said.
Mr. Mitchell said his primary focus will be on classroom instruction.
“In the coming months and years, we will focus on strategic planning that incorporates best practices from not just around this country but around the world,” he said. “To that end, we will focus on getting the right people to become teachers, developing all teachers into highly effective instructors and, ensuring that the system is able to deliver the best possible instruction for every child.
“We will always be mindful of our responsibility to be efficient with taxpayer money when it comes to managing our finances, we will continue to pay close attention to our buildings and grounds, but at the end of the day, it’s all about the teacher in the classroom, the adult in the room working with our students, all day and every day.”
Mr. Mitchell earned his bachelor’s degree from The University of Rhode Island and holds a master’s degree from Providence College.