School & District Management

R.I. Schools Chief Gist Makes Time 100 List

By Dakarai I. Aarons — April 29, 2010 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Deborah A. Gist, Rhode Island’s education commissioner, has made the 2010 Time 100 list. (Special hat tip to DFER’s Charlie Barone for linking to this in the Twitterverse.) The magazine prints the prestigious list each year of people it believes have the most effect on our world. This year’s list includes leaders such as President Barack Obama, and Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.

Gist, who has been in her current job for not quite a year, is listed number 9 in its list of Thinkers, besting some better-known names, such as Apple CEO Steve Jobs (No. 11) and U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor (No. 25).

The magazine praises Gist, 43, for her bold actions, including requiring annual teacher evaluations and creating the nation’s highest test-score threshold for those wishing to enter the state’s teacher training programs.

Of course, as Education Week readers know, Gist found more fame than she was perhaps expecting when she backed Central Falls, R.I., Superintendent Frances Gallo’s decision to dismiss all the teachers in that town’s sole high school, which has been low-performing for several years. Even President Obama got involved in the firestorm that ensued. In fact, the teacher’s union filed suit in federal court yesterday against Gist and Gallo, saying they conspired to violate teachers’ rights.

Gist is often credited with being the first state superintendent to put into place the Obama administration’s plans for turning around persistently underachieving schools.

Here’s a bit of what Gist told me about her philosophy during an interview for a March story on Central Falls:

I’ve been saying since I got to the state last summer that every decision I make will be about what is in the best interest of students. People would nod their head and agree, but that is harder in implementation than it is for us to agree to, especially when it starts affecting the adults in ways that are very difficult. That’s when it really tests our resolve about whether we are going to stick to that.

Time contributor Amanda Ripley says Gist is sticking to her guns.

So now Gist is caught in a familiar storm. But so far, she is navigating the tumult with grace -- talking about teachers with the respect that comes from having been one, while still putting students’ interests first,” Ripley wrote.

A version of this news article first appeared in the State EdWatch blog.

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Classroom Technology Webinar
Academic Integrity in the Age of Artificial Intelligence
As AI writing tools rapidly evolve, learn how to set standards and expectations for your students on their use.
Content provided by Turnitin
Recruitment & Retention Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table: Chronic Teacher Shortage: Where Do We Go From Here?  
Join Peter DeWitt, Michael Fullan, and guests for expert insights into finding solutions for the teacher shortage.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Reading & Literacy Webinar
The Science of Reading: Tools to Build Reading Proficiency
The Science of Reading has taken education by storm. Learn how Dr. Miranda Blount transformed literacy instruction in her state.
Content provided by hand2mind

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

School & District Management Divisive Politics Are Harming Schools, District Leaders Say
A new survey reveals how tough the politics are for some leaders, especially in the suburbs.
8 min read
Illustration of tug of war.
Illustration by Laura Baker/Education Week, SvetaZi, and iStock/Getty
School & District Management Leading a City School District Is Tough. A New Program Aims to Ease the Way
Its creators hope to drive down big-city superintendent turnover by preparing candidates for the stresses of leadership.
3 min read
Woman standing on a paper boat with a tsunami wave approaching.
iStock/Getty Images Plus
School & District Management 5 Tips for Switching From Snow Days to Remote Classes
Two district leaders say communication, flexibility, and adaptability are key to success.
4 min read
Close up of hands holding a smartphone and working at a laptop near a window showing a snowy day
iStock/Getty
School & District Management Will Schools Actually Ditch Snow Days for Virtual Learning? The Outlook Is Still Cloudy
More districts are substituting some remote learning, but snow days are still an option in many places.
5 min read
Buses parked covered with snow
iStock/Getty