PROVIDENCE – Education Commissioner Angélica Infante-Green might be sticking around Rhode Island, after all.
Governor Dan McKee said for the first time Wednesday that he would like Infante-Green to remain in her current position after her deal expires next April, a significant vote of confidence for a leader who has clashed with the Providence Teachers Union and state lawmakers for most of the last year.
“I would think so and I would hope so,” McKee said when asked if he wants Infante-Green to remain commissioner. Her current contract ends April 28, 2022.
Infante-Green, a former deputy commissioner for the New York State Education Department, was hired by former Governor Gina Raimondo in 2019 and led the state takeover of Providence schools later that year. She spent much of the last 18 months overseeing the closing and reopening of all public schools during the COVID-19 pandemic while also managing the state’s intervention in the capital city.
Infante-Green spent nearly a year attempting to negotiate a new contract with the Providence Teachers Union, but the talks stalled until McKee stepped in. His decision to remove Infante-Green from the bargaining table was initially seen as a bad sign for her future with the state, but it also helped the state strike a deal with the teachers.
“When I got involved, there was no end in sight,” McKee said, referring to the teachers’ contract.
McKee and Infante-Green have formed a stronger relationship in recent months, working together to hire Dr. Javier Montañez as the interim superintendent following the resignation of Harrison Peters.
McKee declined to say whether he would like Montañez to be named the permanent superintendent in Providence, but he said “we’re going to have stability in that superintendent’s office before the schools start.”
Infante-Green earns $231,726 a year in her current contract. A new contract would need to be approved by the state Council on Elementary and Secondary Education.