NORTH KINGSTOWN – The school committee voted unanimously on Tuesday to appoint Dr. Barbara Morse as the new principal of North Kingstown High School.
After assistant superintendent Dr. Michele Humbyrd retired earlier this year, the school committee voted to appoint current principal Dr. Denise Mancieri to the position, leaving the position of high school principal open.
On Tuesday, superintendent Dr. Philip Auger announced that the advisory search committee decided to recommend Morse for the position.
Morse, currently the assistant principal of North Kingstown High School, has an extensive history working in the school department.
She began teaching at North Kingstown High School 22 years ago and became the mathematics department chair soon after, before her eventual selection as assistant principal of student services in 2014.
In 2006, Morse was chosen as Rhode Island Teacher of the Year
Along with a degree in business, Morse also holds a bachelor of science degree in secondary education from the University of Rhode Island, a master of science degree from Providence College in teaching secondary mathematics, and a doctorate degree in educational leadership from Johnson and Wales University.
Auger said Morse was chosen for the role of principal, in part, because of her “abundant institutional knowledge.”
“She has distinguished herself by being recognized as Rhode Island Teacher of the Year in 2006,” Auger said. “Since that time she has stayed in close touch with all curriculum-related programming from [Rhode Island Department of Education] and has an incredible knowledge and command of the latest practices in teaching and learning.”
“Over the years, Dr. Morse has earned a district-wide and statewide reputation for her warm and friendly demeanor, for her comfort level in working with students, parents and fellow educators, and for making professional presentations on numerous occasions to the North Kingstown School Committee and other professional organizations,” he continued.
He added that Morse also received the highest recommendations from the search advisory group, which included administrators, teachers, support staff and parents.
“With her abundant institutional knowledge of the high school and her strong relationship with staff, parents and students alike,” he said, “she is the perfect choice to lead the high school and to do so with a seamless transition.”
And Mancieri also said Morse was an ideal choice for the position because she knows the “ins and outs of the school system” better than almost anyone.
“I feel so grateful that she, first of all, wants to do this. Having the institutional knowledge is critical right now,” Mancieri said. “She has a leg up because she knows the ins and outs of our school system and all the different grades.”
“When we’re talking about something and she says ‘I got it,’ I know she does,” she added. “It’s huge at a high school because things are happening 24/7.”
For her part, Morse said being appointed to the role of principal was “an honor and very humbling.”
“This is my home, this is my community,” Morse, a longtime North Kingstown resident, said. “My kids went through this system. I’ve been in the school system for 22 years as an educator and several years before that as a parent and an advocate for education.”
“It feels like my home and it’s something I’ve invested in and I believe strongly in,” she continued. “I’m dedicated to this community.”
Beginning July 1, Morse will officially start in her new role as North Kingstown High School Principal.