Thompson Middle School Principal Barrios lacks leadership, unions say

NEWPORT – The two unions representing the teachers and staff at Newport Public Schools submitted to Superintendent Colleen Burns Jermain a vote of no confidence letter regarding Thompson Middle School Principal Xavier Barrios.

In the March 30 letter, the unions wrote Barrios and his administration team’s tolerance for “unsafe behaviors” has led to a “chaotic and unsafe teaching and learning environment” this year.

“Rogers (High School) works like a well-oiled machine. Pell (Elementary) works like a well-oiled machine. Thompson does not, ”said Jennifer Hole, acting president of the Teachers Association of Newport.

Barrios began working as Thompson Middle School’s principal in July 2021 after former Principal Laurie Sullivan’s retirement a year prior. Before coming to Newport, Barrios worked in various school leadership and administration positions in Chicago, Nashville, New Jersey, Boston and Providence.

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He was hired as principal for Thompson Middle School after a five-month search process, and his current contract with Newport Public Schools ends in June 2024.

Barrios did not reply to a request for comment on the unions’ action.

In a conversation with The Daily News, Hole called Barrios a “very nice man,” but said he has not proved an effective leader for the school, and communication between the administration, teachers and staff has been lacking since he was hired. That’s led to confusion over teacher responsibilities.


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