PROVIDENCE – Education Commissioner Angelica Infante-Green could stay in Rhode Island after all.
Gov. Dan McKee first said on Wednesday that he would like Infante-Green to stay in his current post after his deal expires next April, an important vote of confidence for a leader who has clashed with the Providence Teachers Union and state legislators for most of the past year.
“I think so and I hope so,” McKee said when asked if he wanted Infante-Green to remain commissioner. His current contract ends on April 28, 2022.
Infante-Green, a former deputy commissioner of the New York State Department of Education, was hired by former governor Gina Raimondo in 2019 and led the state takeover of Providence schools later during this year. She has spent much of the past 18 months overseeing the closure and reopening of all public schools during the COVID-19 pandemic while managing the state’s response in the capital.
Infante-Green spent nearly a year trying to negotiate a new contract with the Providence Teachers Union, but talks stalled until McKee intervened. His decision to remove Infante-Green from the negotiating table was initially seen as a bad sign for his future with the state, but it also helped the state strike a deal with teachers.
“When I got involved, there was no end in sight,” McKee said, referring to the teachers’ contract.
McKee and Infante-Green have forged a stronger relationship in recent months, working together to hire Dr Javier Montañez as acting superintendent following the resignation of Harrison Peters.
McKee declined to say if he would like Montañez to be appointed permanent superintendent in Providence, but said “we are going to have stability in this superintendent’s office before the schools start.”
Infante-Green earns $ 231,726 per year under his current contract. A new contract is expected to be approved by the State Council for Primary and Secondary Education.