Warwick Neck Elementary School Principal Frank Galligan wanted to be a meteorologist growing up.
That was until he was a senior at Bishop Hendricken High School. That year he helped out at St. Paul’s School in his hometown of Cranston as part of a job base experience once a week.
Galligan knew then what his calling was. It was to go into education.
“I realized that it was what I was meant to do,” said Galligan.
Growing up Galligan said he struggled with math and reading. But he said he had a lot of dedicated teachers.
“I had teachers that never gave up on me,” said Galligan.
Galligan said that being able to help students is one of the reasons why he enjoys being in education.
Now Galligan is not only in education, but a nominee for the Rhode Island Outstanding Beginning Principal of the Year. Gary McCoombs, principal at Hoxsie Elementary School, nominated him.
“It's a real honor,” said Galligan.
After graduating from Assumption University, Galligan found himself back in Cranston where he worked at Immaculate Conception as a middle school teacher before going to St. Teressa School.
He later earned a master of education degree in leadership and administration from Harvard in order to become a principal. After graduating from Harvard he became principal at a private school in Boston.
In the fall of 2020 he returned to Rhode Island, and was encouraged to apply to work in Warwick. He did and was named interim principal at Norwood Elementary School in January of 2021. Sabrina Antonelli, the principal there, was on long-term medical leave. As Galligan described it, he was “keeping the seat warm.”
As luck would have it, Warwick Neck had an opening when Patricia Cousineau was named as Director of Elementary Education, replacing Lynn Dambruch who was picked as superintendent.
Galligan got the call that he would take over at Warwick Neck on July 1 2021.
Galligan said that McCoombs has always been one of his biggest supporters.
He said that there were times when he needed advice and McCoombs was there to answer the call.
“Trust your gut, you need to trust yourself more,” Galligan recalls McCoombs telling him.
McCoombs said that he got an email asking if he wanted to nominate anyone for either principal of the year or for new principal of the year.
He knew whom he wanted to nominate.
“I’m very impressed with Frank,” said McCoombs, who has been principal at Hoxsie since 2011.
McCoombs said that among other things he’s “done an excellent job building a sense of community,” noting that he goes to little league games on the weekends, and tries to make school fun for the students as examples.
“He’s just what Warwick needs… Warwick is very lucky to have him,” said McCoombs.
On Monday the final step of the process was completed which was a virtual site visit of the school by the committee. The committee includes past recipient winners along with the Rhode Island Association of School Principals Executive Director.
It included an interview with Galligan, a discussion with staff and leaders from Warwick Neck, the District Administration, parents from Warwick Neck and students. It was undetermined when he would find out if he won the award or not.
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