Popular Providence principal leaving for job in East Providence

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Providence’s loss is East Providence’s gain.

William Black, the well-respected principal at West Broadway Middle School, confirmed he is leaving for the same job at Martin Middle School in East Providence next month.

In an email to colleagues this week, Black explained that he has lived in East Providence most of his life and is now raising his three young children there. The new job means he’ll be leading a school in his neighborhood, but he said he will miss West Broadway.

“As many of you know, I was the first employee at WBMS,” Black wrote in the email. “Yes, I walked around the school alone for a couple of months before I was able to bring some teammates on board. From there the team continued to grow over the next four year to where we are today. A full middle school with Grades 5-8 including the best and brightest educators and staff in the state.”

Black is credited with working with teachers to build a strong culture at West Broadway since the school reopened as a middle school in 2014. The Rhode Island Association of School Principals named him Outstanding First Year Principal after the 2014-15 school year.

He is known for doing whatever it takes to connect with students and families, including sending robocalls home in the form of a rap message so parents remember scheduled family nights or when standardized testing begins.

He also sends out a weekly email newsletter called “Friday Focus” to members of the West Broadway community to highlight school events or important moments from the previous week. In a recent newsletter, he wrote a paragraph about each member of the school’s staff explaining how they make a difference.

In his email to colleagues, he said they “have all inspired and helped me in so many ways.”

“Your patience with me as a new administrator trying learn and figure things out will never be forgotten,” Black wrote. “Most importantly, it is about how you have treated students and each other to make this school such a special place will be something I will always treasure.”

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Dan McGowan (dmcgowan@wpri.com) covers politics, education and the city of Providence for WPRI.com. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter: @danmcgowan