By EMMA BARTLETT
On Monday night, Cranston’s School Committee approved the nomination of Keith Catone to fill the vacant Ward 1 seat until the end of the 2022 term. Catone and two other …
By EMMA BARTLETT
On Monday night, Cranston’s School Committee approved the nomination of Keith Catone to fill the vacant Ward 1 seat until the end of the 2022 term. Catone and two other candidates came before the committee to explain why they would be a good fit for the position.
Each candidate had three minutes to present themselves – followed by a series of questions that would be the same for each person. To keep things fair, those who weren’t presenting or being asked questions were asked to wait outside the auditorium. Catone received approval from all five current school committee members.
Catone is a parent of a fourth grader at Rhode Elementary School and has been on the school improvement team for the past three years while also serving on Rhode’s PTA as a treasurer for the past two years.
“As much as I’ve enjoyed contributing to the Rhodes community, I’m excited by the opportunity to contribute to the important work happening across all our schools across our district,” said Catone, noting that he strongly believes schools are a community’s cornerstone.
In addition to carrying out the remainder of former committee member Sara Tindall-Woodman’s duties for the 2022 term, Catone intends to run for the Ward 1 position in the next election.
During his presentation, Catone told the committee he currently serves as the executive director for the Center for Youth and Community Leadership in Education (CYCLE) which offers support, training and research to youth, families and educators working to improve their schools. He has also worked as a history and social studies teacher in the Bronx.
Catone earned his teaching credentials in Rhode Island and furthered his education by obtaining two graduate degrees and a secondary school administration credential in Massachusetts, Catone found his way to Rhode Island in 2008 and moved to Cranston with his family in 2015.
When asked if he has attended any type of School Committee, City Council or General Assembly meeting, Catone explained that he attended the School Committee meeting about where members voted on the mask policy and said over the years he’s attend City Council or General Assembly meetings when there has been a topic that has interested him or if he is supporting community advocates.
“I often think about how since it is my job to talk to those who work tirelessly to improve their schools across New England I should walk the walk at home in my own community and in my child’s school system,” Catone said.
Of all the matters that the School Committee handles, Catone named the following as the top three things: doing your best to represent interests of residents of Cranston and the students and parents attending the district’s schools, overseeing and determining the budget and dealing with contracts.
He said the biggest issue facing Cranston Public Schools today are fiscal issues and determining how to address them. Additionally, as an educator, the schools should look at how well they are serving all students.
“I would love to dig into thinking about what schools might need specific additional support based on the needs of students,” Catone said.
School Committee member Kenneth Mancuso noted Catone’s list of involvements and inquired about his other time commitments interfering with committee meetings. Catone said he is cycling out of his positions as the Rhodes Elementary PTA treasurer, the school improvement team and the treasurer of one national board.
Traficante concluded the Q and A portion, asking Catone what he thought was missing from the teaching curriculum to prepare educators for this century. Catone said training educators to understand how important it is to build relationships with the communities they serve. He said there are few opportunities to learn about family engagement, partnerships and the ways to enhance success by building relationships with others.
After a vote where all committee members approved Catone for the position, Traficante shared that he voted for Catone because he had the perspective of being a parent of a child in Cranston Public Schools and one of the things committee members hear from parents is there is not a lot of representation on the board from individuals who have kids currently in the school system.
Chairperson Daniel Wall thanked all candidates for their interest in the Ward 1 position and congratulated Catone on his new appointment.
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