Brice named permanent superintendent in Bristol Warren

School committee offers superintendent three-year pact

By Ted Hayes
Posted 11/12/19

Dr. Jonathan Brice was appointed as the permanent full time Superintendent of the Bristol Warren Regional School District Tuesday evening.

Dr. Brice, who was hired as a one-year interim …

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Brice named permanent superintendent in Bristol Warren

School committee offers superintendent three-year pact

Posted

Dr. Jonathan Brice was appointed as the permanent full time Superintendent of the Bristol Warren Regional School District Tuesday evening.

Dr. Brice, who was hired as a one-year interim superintendent over the summer, was awarded a three-year contract following a vote of the school committee Tuesday night. He said prior to the meeting that he is excited to make what was a temporary appointment a permanent one — the district has much potential, he said, and he is excited for the future.

“We have all the things necessary to become a high performing district,” he said. “This district has a really bright future. We’ve got great students who are really engaged, we have a really fine faculty and we have terrific parental engagement.”

Erin Schofield, the school committee chairwoman, said she too is excited to have the career educator at the helm, saying he brings a much-needed enthusiasm, engagement and positivity to what is a big job:

“People can really feel the climate and culture in our schools changing” since his arrival, she said.

“He is supporting students and staff and facing challenges. He’s present at the schools. He’s a passionate educator. The focus and the vision seem to be right on par with what we are looking for.”

Hiring process

Dr. Brice began on a one-year interim basis Monday, July 22, following the  Monday, June 24 departure of former Superintendent Dr. Mario Andrade. He was one of 30 applicants for the job the school committee received through its posting on www.schoolspring.com, a website that lists education jobs. That ad was posted about two days after Dr. Andrade’s departure.

Dr. Brice was one of five finalists selected by the committee out of that crop of 30 hopefuls, and along with the other four top candidates was interviewed by committee members on Monday, July 10. He was offered the interim position approximately five days later and started July 22.

In early October, school committee members started discussing the next step in hiring a permanent superintendent, and the consensus was that given what they’d seen out of Dr. Brice, a new search most likely would not turn up a better candidate:

“We knew we wanted to move forward, we knew we had to figure out how we would do another search or should we say, ‘Hey, we think we’ve got something here,” Ms. Schofield said.

“What we found in Dr. Brice (during summer interviews) was someone who was positioned to potentially be here long-term,” she said. “What we ended up finding over the last few months was that instead of coming in and being a place holder, he hit the ground running. He was immediately invested in the district, and he immediately began engaging the community and he is already engaging town leaders well in advance of the Joint Finance Committee meetings.”

Eschewing a formal permanent superintendent search “was not a decision that was made lightly. It’s a very important decision for the district but the school committee felt that hiring him was the right decision.”

Last month, school committee members approached Dr. Brice and asked about his feelings about staying long-term. The advance culminated in Tuesday night’s decision to hire him.

Ms. Schofield said she is confident that the right person for Bristol Warren has been found:

“He’s very focused on improving instruction and test scores, and things of that n nature. He is passionate; he understands that in order for things to improve there has got be good culture in the schools and in the community. We all have to be undivided and invested together in making sure that our kids are getting what they need. He shares that vision.”

Lots to do

Dr. Brice said his main priorities going forward are continuing to engage all members of the community in bettering the schools, and there are key areas that need to be addressed internally as well:

“We have to have a laser-like focus,” he said. “We need to make sure that we are building the types of local emotional supports we need; strong academics, as well as making sure our students have real world career and college prep. If we do those things we are going to see our student achievement at higher levels and really, across the board.”

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