Barrington elementary school principal resigns, headed for virtual school

Tracey McGee-Moreira stepping down; Gino Sangiuliano named interim principal

By Josh Bickford
Posted 8/26/21

Tracey McGee-Moreira surprised the families of Hampden Meadows School last Monday with an email announcing her resignation. 

Mrs. McGee-Moreira, who has been principal of Hampden Meadows …

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Barrington elementary school principal resigns, headed for virtual school

Tracey McGee-Moreira stepping down; Gino Sangiuliano named interim principal

Posted

Tracey McGee-Moreira surprised the families of Hampden Meadows School last Monday with an email announcing her resignation. 

Mrs. McGee-Moreira, who has been principal of Hampden Meadows since 2012, wrote that she was resigning effective Aug. 25. 

“I may be changing roles, but I am still deeply committed to children and families and will continue to work in education,” she wrote. “I have been here nearly a decade and Barrington Public Schools has provided me with a wealth of knowledge and increased my capacity to be an excellent administrator.”

In an interview on Aug. 19, Mrs. McGee-Moreira said she was leaving Hampden Meadows School to be the new school leader at Rhode Island Connections Academy, a privately-owned and operated virtual school. 

“I feel like Covid has made us look at the changing landscape of education,” she said. “We’ve come to realize there are other ways kids can learn.”

Barrington Superintendent of Schools Michael Messore said Hampden Meadows School Assistant Principal Gino Sangiuliano will serve as interim principal after Aug. 25. 

“I have full faith in Gino,” Mr. Messore said, adding that the school district recently made Mr. Sangiuliano a 12-month administrator. Previously, Mr. Sangiuliano had been a 10-month administrator. Mr. Sangiuliano has worked closely with Mrs. McGee-Moreira for a number of years; he was a teacher at HMS prior to being named assistant principal. 

Mr. Messore said the local elementary school is in good shape for the start of classes and that the shift in leadership will not impact the beginning of the school year. Mr. Messore said the district will conduct a search for the next Hampden Meadows School principal starting in September.

“My main goal right now is getting the schools open,” Mr. Messore said.

The superintendent said he wants to make sure that the district takes its time conducting a thorough search for the next HMS principal. He said the local elementary school is structured differently than the other schools — while Sowams, Nayatt and Primrose Hill function as “neighborhood” elementary schools, HMS brings all students across the district together for grades 4 and 5. 

Mr. Messore said the timing of Mrs. McGee-Moreira’s resignation presents some unique challenges. At this point in the year, most potential candidates have already committed to other jobs. 

About the timing, Mr. Messore said: “I was surprised. I wasn’t anticipating it.” He added: “She’s making a decision that’s best for her, in her life. I know she cared very much about supporting students and the staff. I wish her the best of luck.”

Mr. Messore said personnel changes — even those involving the district’s top administrative jobs — occasionally happen right before the start of classes. 

New challenges

Mrs. McGee-Moreira said the opportunity to work as the school leader at the Rhode Island Connections Academy surfaced only recently, but was too good to pass up. She said an official with the East Bay Collaborative has reached out to superintendents around the state, letting them know about the opportunity to work with the virtual school. 

Barrington Public Schools will work with the online provider K-12 Stride, for the 2021-22 school year. The distance learning option will be available for students who have documented health concerns, mental-health needs or family concerns related to Covid. 

“There are some students who can’t come back,” Mrs. McGee-Moreira said.

Mrs. McGee-Moreira will begin her work with Rhode Island Connections Academy very soon. She said she is excited about her new position and the challenges it will present. She also said the shift away from HMS to the virtual school will be bittersweet. 

“I’m going to miss those close relationships I get with the kids here,” she said. 

Mrs. McGee-Moreira said she will miss all the teachers at Hampden Meadows School, and she praised them in her departing email. 

“I am so proud of the veteran and new staff who dedicated themselves to reflection and change and who are willing to take risks, learn new ways of doing things, and who dedicate themselves and work tirelessly in service of our kids, families, and community,” she said. 

She also offered glowing praise for Mr. Sangiuliano. 

“I think Gino’s going to do a great job,” she said. “He knows everything about the job I do.”

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