This article was originally published May 15, 2014
NORTH KINGSTOWN—When Stony Lane Elementary School principal Edward Ferrario walked into the school’s gymnasium last Wednesday morning, he was shocked to see all the students and faculty gathered to celebrate his recognition as Rhode Island Principal of the Year. Awarded by the Board of Directors at the Rhode Island Association of School Principals (RIASP), Ferrario was selected after a through interview process in which students, faculty, staff and parents all had their say in how the former educator and administrator has transformed the Stony Lane community.
“I knew I was a finalist, [but] I just didn’t think any more about it because I had a lot of busy stuff that I had to get done at the end of the school year,” said Ferrario about the recognition. “I was totally shocked, and [the award] was something I didn’t anticipate. I am very humbled and very well appreciative.”
According to Ferrario, a group of students, faculty, parents and other school groups were all interviewed for approximately 30 minutes a piece by four principals from RIASP. Because of the thoroughness of the process, Ferrario is especially proud that many different voices within the Stony Lane community praised his work as a ‘meticulously thorough’ and dedicated’ administrator.
“I was really in awe about how that process took place, which I was not a part of,” said Ferrario. “When they did come back and interview me, they heard the same things from the multiple groups they met with, and that is what solidified it for me.”
Ferrario was also quick to recognize the faculty, staff and students who work together on a daily basis to make sure that the Stony Lane community functions as successfully as possible.
“[RIASP] asked, ‘how do you balance all you have to do and still keep the school moving forward?’” he said. “It is not just me. Stony Lane is a team, a village to make everything happen, and that is where a lot of the accolades go, to the teachers and students.”
“We have problems just like any school, but everybody comes together and tries to solve the problems as a whole group of people,” Ferrario continued. “That is the part that makes me proud, the culture we have created to pull everyone together and be on the same page.”
Superintendent of Schools Philip Auger congratulated Ferrario for his work at the ceremony last Wednesday, as well as RIASP’s executive director, Patricia Hines. School Committee chair Kimberly Page was also on hand to celebrate the Stony Lane principal’s achievements over the past several years.
“[Ferrario] is a shining example of how strong leadership leads to successful school,” said Auger. “Mr. Ferrario is an exceptional school leader for all to emulate. He meticulously stays focused on all the right things, and he truly loves the students of Stony Lane.”
Beyond the recognition, Ferrario emphasized that more dedication from the entire Stony Lane Elementary community is necessary in order for students to meet the challenges of a 21st century education and be placed on a path to future academic and life success.
“Challenging both the lower and higher students is always a tough balance to follow for any administrator,” said Ferrario. “We can really challenge kids through the arts, and there are multiple enrichment ways in the programs we have developed here for finding that balance.”
“My role is to take a deep breath and say we have new things coming, but we can find ways to help each other to do it,” he added.