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CONTACT: Rosemarie Kraeger (401) 849-2122 or rkraeger@mpsri.net


MIDDLETOWN, R.I. (JUNE 29, 2021)  The Middletown schools are setting an exciting new course for the district with several new hires.

During a Tuesday afternoon School Committee meeting online, William Niemeyer was named as the new principal of Gaudet Middle School, grades 6-8. Most recently, Niemeyer served as the principal of Spaziano Elementary and Annex in Providence since 2015. He takes over for Donna Chelf, who announced her retirement recently after several years at the helm of the Aquidneck Avenue middle school.

Rebecca Silveira was selected as the principal of the Gaudet Learning Academy, grades 4-5. Silveira comes to the district from Barrington Middle School, where she was assistant principal. She steps into the new position that was created amid the recent retirement of longtime Gaudet Middle School Assistant Principal Linda Beaupre.

At Forest Avenue Elementary School, Lisa Birkett is the new principal after working as a school leader and special education teacher for the North Providence School Department. She takes over for Beth Hayes, who was the principal of the Forest Avenue school for several years.

On the technology front, David Annese was named as the district’s new Director of Technology, picking up for Sean Bouzan, who helped implement several important initiatives.

“This is an exciting time to be part of the Middletown School District,” Superintendent Rosemarie K. Kraeger said. “We’re really looking forward to all the new ideas and innovation from our incoming principals and leadership team to help continue moving the Middletown schools in the right direction. Saying that, we’d be remiss if we didn’t extend a sincere ‘Thanks’ to Donna, Linda, Beth and Sean as they leave us. They truly set the standard for what it meant to be an educator in Middletown and wish them well with their future endeavors."

Assistant Superintendent Michelle Fonseca agreed, saying the departures were leaving with decades of experience, but each of the schools was in good hands.

“Each one of new hires brings a unique skillset to our district,” Fonseca said. “With each one, the education and advancement of our students is at the forefront and will help move Middletown to the next level. Even though it’s summertime, I know each of our principals is hard at work to help make the 2021-2022 school year one of our best ever to continue to build on our strong success.”  

The upcoming school year is scheduled to start on Wednesday, Sept. 8. With each school year, educators said there’s new opportunities to grow as a district and help every student – no matter ability – make positive strides forward.

School Committee Chairwoman Theresa Spengler applauded the district for the additions to its hiring process, which included open interviews and site visits. She said the moves helped make the hiring more open and transparent, something she’d heard excellent reports about.

“Personally, I know the School Department did an excellent job bringing us, the School Committee a wide array of qualified candidates for each one of these positions,” School Committee Chairwoman Theresa Spengler said. “With each, Rosemarie had a difficult decision to make, but I feel confident we found the best person and the best match for our district and I’m looking forward to seeing great things in September when we get back to school."