Brown University News Bureau

The Brown University News Bureau

1998-1999 index

Distributed June 8, 1999
Contact: Mark Nickel

Superintendent of Providence Public Schools

Search Committee submits names of two finalists to school board

Diana Lam, most recently superintendent of the San Antonio Independent School District, and June Rimmer, currently assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction for Indianapolis Public Schools, are the two finalists in Providence's search for a new superintendent of schools. Brown President E. Gordon Gee, chair of the search committee, submitted their names to the Providence School Board today.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- E. Gordon Gee, president of Brown University and chair of the search committee for the next Providence schools superintendent, today submitted the names of two final candidates to the Providence School Board. In a letter to Gertrude Blakey, School Board president, Gee and the search committee recommended Diana Lam, most recently superintendent of San Antonio public schools, and June Rimmer, currently assistant superintendent for Indianapolis public schools. The text of Gee's letter follows:

Ms. Gertrude Blakey
President, Providence School Board
797 Westminster Street
Providence RI 02903

Dear Gertrude:

It is with great pride that our committee submits to you the names of two candidates for Superintendent of Schools: Diana Lam and June Rimmer. We are confident that either candidate can provide effective leadership and chart a successful course for the 39 schools, 1,700 teachers and 25,600 students in our city's school system.

Diana Lam, most recently superintendent of the San Antonio Independent School District, is a proven leader capable of making significant positive changes within large urban systems. Under her leadership, San Antonio's schools achieved dramatic improvements in test scores, higher school attendance rates and lower drop-out rates. A national figure in the ongoing conversation about school reform, Ms. Lam is recognized for her ability to galvanize and mobilize community support in the interest of school achievement.

June Rimmer, currently assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction for Indianapolis Public Schools, has instituted a standards-based and student-centered curriculum which has led to an increase in test scores. She has worked to infuse elements of multicultural education into the curriculum at all grade levels and has introduced new assessments to measure student achievement. Ms. Rimmer has been active in community and civic affairs.

Our confidence in these candidates stems from the nature of our committee and from the work we have done since Mayor Cianci brought us together last fall. Our committee represents the many constituencies involved in Providence public schools. We are policy-makers, educators, community leaders and representatives from higher education, business and labor. As key stakeholders in the system, we came to the table in good faith and with a clear commitment to finding the best qualified person for the job.

Since our first gathering, we have held more than a dozen public meetings. We have engaged the broader community and sought its insights through a formal survey and devoting four meetings entirely to listening to community concerns.

After we agreed upon the personal qualities our new superintendent would need, we enlisted the help of a nationally recognized search firm to cast our net as widely as possible. We wanted to find people not only with the requisite knowledge, skills and experience, but with the solid character, bold vision and tremendous energy needed to undertake and enjoy the challenges associated with leading the Providence school system into the next century. There were 46 individuals in our initial pool of applicants, which we pared down to 24, then to 10, to four, and now to two.

The two women who are our finalists have worked in some of the most challenging urban districts in the country, and each can demonstrate effectiveness in their past positions. Their experience also demonstrates that they will understand and respect the particular needs of our richly diverse school system.

Throughout this process we have enjoyed a good and productive working relationship with the School Board, and look forward to continuing that relationship now as the Board makes its final selection.

Cordially for the committee,


E. Gordon Gee