Middletown Schools Superintendent Rosemarie K. Kraeger to Retire at End of 2023-2024 School Year

Superintendent Rosemarie K. Kraeger is retiring at the end of the 2023-2024 school year.

Earlier this month, the longtime leader of the Middletown school system quietly told friends and colleagues the upcoming school year was going to be her last when her current contract expires in June 2024.

During her 26 plus years at the helm of the Middletown schools, Kraeger has overseen a number of important changes in education in Middletown from weaving technology throughout the district to promoting more inclusive standards and better serving every student, regardless of ability.

A state official recently confirmed Kraeger is easily the longest tenured school superintendent in Rhode Island, a distinction she’s held for years.

From the council dais, President Paul M. Rodrigues applauded Kraeger for her 40 plus work for the students of Middletown and the countless lives she positively impacted. After his comments, audience members applauded loudly as Kraeger sat in the second row, smiling.

“While we might not have agreed all the time and had some very difficult conversations, the amount of time and what you’ve accomplished over time…you’ve put 40 years of your life into the Middletown school system and trying to make Middletown a better educational system,” Rodrigues said.

An educator going back decades, Kraeger got her start as an elementary school teacher in Chinatown in New York City.

Describing in media reports her first few days as like being tossed into a “blender” because she didn’t know any of her colleagues or the school’s procedures, Kraeger pledged to make sure that didn’t happen to her teachers if she was ever in a leadership position.

After serving as a principal with the district — including the Rhode Island Principal of the Year in the mid-1990s — Kraeger took over as superintendent in 1997.

The world of public school education has changed dramatically in that time, with technology permeating every classroom and lesson plan.

The outside demands and oversight of the performance of each student has also risen sharply, with progress expected for everyone walking into each classroom.

School safety and violence are also at the fore of every conversation about modern education, something that was unthinkable when Kraeger started as a teacher in one of the world’s biggest cities.

Her work has garnered regional and national attention and praise, including multiple awards.

Those include recognition as the “Rhode Island Superintendent of the Year” in 2005 from the Rhode Island School Superintendents’ Association and the “President’s Award” in 2016 from the New England Association of School Superintendents. Previously, Kraeger earned the National Distinguished Principals Award, the Miliken Family Educators Award and the Fordham University Alumni Achievement Award, among others.

Unbeknownst to many, Kraeger quietly serves on several regional and national boards dealing with issues impacting local students and staff. One is the National Association of Federally Impacted Schools, where Kraeger is the chairwoman for Rhode Island.

Regardless of where she was, Kraeger has said previously her work was always about the children.

“I think that’s what people do when they teach, get into it to help the children,” Kraeger said in an Oct. 6, 2016 story in The Newport Daily News. “Sometimes, people might lose sight about why we’re here and it’s to help our children learn, whatever way that’s possible.”

That’s always the No. 1 priority, to better the education of students, Kraeger said.

“Staying focused on improving student achievement is a priority,” Kraeger said in an Oct. 22, 2005 story in The Daily News. “Still, the interaction you have with families, students and staff, that’s the most rewarding to me, that contact that helps changes things for the better. There are so many examples of former students, grandparents of students and our own come in and say ‘Thanks!’ That means so much.”




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