Subcommittee hires DeGoes as new East Providence Schools interim superintendent

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EAST PROVIDENCE — John DeGoes, at least temporarily, will return to the East Providence School System as its interim superintendent, The Post learned Saturday morning, Aug. 4.

Mr. DeGoes, who served as the system super back in the 1990s, was chosen from a group of five prospective candidates by a subcommittee set up by the Budget Commission. He will be introduced to the remaining administrative staff at the department’s main office on Burnside Avenue and is expected to start work, both occurring Monday, Aug. 6.

The need for Mr. DeGoes services was due to the recent resignation of Edward Daft as the interim superintendent. Mr. Daft, who held the position for exactly a year, officially left the system last week for an assistant principal job at Barrington High School.

“We’ve made a decision. Mr. DeGoes has accepted the position. We’re just dotting the Is and crossing the Ts. He is retired. So we’re in the process of making the numbers work. We’re trying to cross the final hurdles we need to cross,” said East Providence School Committee Chairman Charlie Tsonos, who serves on the subcommittee along with Budget Commission Chairman Diane Brennan and Rhode Island Department of Education Deputy Commissioner David Abbott.

Mr. DeGoes spent portions of his administrative career in the Cumberland, Central Falls and North Attleboro school districts as well as his time in East Providence. Like he did in city, Mr. DeGoes was a superintendent in Central Falls. He formally retired professionally at the end of his stint as assistant super in North Attleboro in 2007.

Since retiring from school administration, Mr. DeGoes has been active in the banking world. He has served on the board of directors for Navigant Credit Union, the former Central Falls Credit Union. He stepped down from the board as chairman in 2008.

Mr. DeGoes was a candidate to return to the city back in 2010 when the then School Committee instead opted to hire Mario Cirillo to serve as Schools Superintendent. Mr. Cirillo’s ill-fated tenure in East Providence ended contentiously when the current Committee relieved him of his duties about a year ago, which led to Mr. Daft taking over the post on an interim basis.

During his time in city, Mr. DeGoes was credited with running the school system in the black. He actually managed a surplus of approximately $1 million. His expertise in both aspects of the job, education and finance, was viewed as the key to his being selected to return.

“I think we’ve made an excellent hire. We’ve made some important progress in regards to the entire system. And the best thing is we’re all on the same page,” Mr. Tsonos continued. “David Abbott, Diane Brennan and I were and are all in agreement, which is really good news. I think (Mr. DeGoes) is someone the entire community will be happy with.”

The interview process was quick and to the point. The five-person candidate pool met with the subcommittee over two days, Aug. 2 and 3, at City Hall. Mr. DeGoes, whom Mr. Tsonos contacted initially some three weeks ago when Mr. Daft’s decision to leave was announced publicly, was part of the first wave to come in last Thursday.

Mr. Tsonos, a candidate for the new State House of Representatives District 63 seat, described the interview process as “extensive.” He added, “They’re all excellent people. As I said earlier, East Providence is fortunate to have this caliber of people interested in coming to our city. There are a lot of possibilities.”

Mr. Tsonos said Mr. Abbott, especially, was responsive to the concerns of the entire School Committee about the lack of top-level administrative personnel in the system. Mrs. Brennan, as well, understands the need to fill the vacancies, and that process is expected to continue now that Mr. DeGoes is in place as the interim super. And those openings could be filled by the other candidates interviewed last week.

“We’re not done,” Mr. Tsonos added. “I would expect some time later in the week there will be an announcement that at least one more person will be hired for the support staff.”

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