Whaley leaves BHS this month to take on leadership role in West Warwick schools


BURRILLVILLE – The principal of Burrillville High School for the past 13 years will be leaving this month after accepting a position as assistant superintendent of schools for the West Warwick School District.

Michael Whaley announced the news in a note to parents Monday, August 1, with a resignation effective before the start of the new school year.

“I will forever be grateful for the opportunity and privilege to be the leader of this incredible school,” Whaley wrote.

An East Greenwich resident, Whaley holds a Master’s degree from Providence College and doctorate from Johnson & Wales University. He began his career in education as a science teacher and
has been a dean of students, assistant principal, and assistant to the director of curriculum instruction, assessment and professional development in various Rhode Island school districts.

For more than a decade, his focus has been in Burrillville, where he’s worked to build up Career & Technical Education programs launching eight Pathways, and increase extra-curricular and athletic offerings. Whaley has been involved in the Burrillville Prevention Action Coalition and served on the Principals’ Committee on Athletics.

“I have loved and appreciated every minute of my time in Burrillville, and am proud of all that has been accomplished in my tenure as principal,” Whaley said.

He noted that he has also sustained a graduation rate above 90 percent during his 13 year tenure.

“Such successes, and more, are due to the dedication of the community, parents, faculty, staff and students who have walked the halls of BHS,” Whaley write. “The people and partnerships of the Burrillville community are what I will miss most in accepting this new position.”

The departure shouldn’t come as a surprise to those in the education community. Whaley has been a finalist for superintendent positions in communities in neighboring Massachusetts twice in recent years, for the Dudley-Charlton Regional School District and Bourne schools in Cape Cod.

Supt. Michael Sollitto said the district is searching for Whaley’s replacement and has already posted the position both internally and externally.

“The hiring committee will be established within the next week or so and will be representative of school and district administrators, teachers, parents, students, and school committee members,” Sollittos said. 

Sollitto also wished his colleague luck in the new position. 

“Dr. Whaley was a great asset to Burrillville High School during his tenure as principal; he will be missed,” Sollitto said.

The principal’s resignation in Burrillville is effective Friday, August 12.

“I have no doubt that the current Broncos at BHS will continue to pursue their goals with passion and dedication,” Whaley wrote. “I wish the entire school community great success, health and happiness in years to come.”

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