The Johnston School Committee has unanimously approved Matthew Stephen Tsonos as principal of Ferri Middle School, awarding him a two-year contract.
Tsonos, who served as interim principal at the school this past year, had previously served as assistant principal at Ferri during the 2015-16 academic year under Principal Dennis Morrell. Following former JHS Principal Zachary Farrell’s departure to become assistant principal at Cranston High School West in July 2016, Morrell was named principal of the high school, leaving a vacancy at the middle school.
“He did a great job, we were very happy with his work as an assistant principal, at that time he was the only assistant principal working with Mr. Morrell,” said Superintendent Dr. Bernard DiLullo. “This year was successful, he made a nice transition which was done in a short period time. He’s done a great job, the transition was good and we have not had problems at the middle school.”
A graduate of Providence College, Tsonos earned a master of education degree majoring in administration of education. He is also a graduate of the University of Rhode Island, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree majoring in physical education with a minor in health.
Before coming to Johnston, Tsonos worked in the East Providence school district in a number of capacities, including middle school summer school principal, dean of students at East Providence High, and Ready to Learn coordinator, amongst others.
“The students are successful, the teachers are working together as a team, so it’s been a good fit in terms of his success there,” said DiLullo. “We’re very satisfied with his work.”
DiLullo stated that he spoke with Tsonos about his future tenure, and believes his primary focus should be academics and continuing to raise the bar for students by offering rigorous, challenging courses while ensuring that the teachers are supporting the students.
“I’m really excited, this is a great district and I have a lot of support. There are very good teachers here, and I feel confident taking the position,” said Tsonos. “I was a little green, I still am a little green, but I feel confident because of all the support and the professionals that are here.”
Tsonos said that he’s getting acclimated in the role, which is a “lot of work,” but that he’s happy for the vote of confidence the district has given him.
“My focus is going to be to continue the work of Mr. Morrell, he’s a phenomenal educator and administrator. My goal would be to try to continue that work and as I get more comfortable in the position, I want to start working on curriculum and continue moving the school forward for the students.”