When Sue Lusi said she was leaving the Providence Public Schools to pursue new professional opportunities, she wasn't kidding.
Boston-based consulting group Mass Insight announced Monday that Lusi will be the new President and CEO of the non-profit Mass Insight Education.
"The board is pleased to have found a passionate and skilled leader right here in New England to assume this important role at Mass Insight Education," said Dick Taggart, chairman of MIE's board of directors in a written statement announcing the hire.
Lusi stepped down from the top job in the Providence Public Schools citing frustration with a "challenging" city bureaucracy that puts the schools under both the mayor's office and the school board.
"Providence in the best of circumstances is a challenging place to do work," Lusi said in a June 2015 interview with RIPR. "Things take a long time here."
Many people in Providence were sorry to see Lusi leave. While the schools have struggled to improve test scores, especially in high schools, Lusi was well-liked for policies like greater principal autonomy.
"She is the consummate professional. I think that she’s probably one of the most respected superintendents in our state," said then-Providence School Board Chair Keith Olivera at the time. "Her leadership and direction, and the direction we’ve been going in, it will be an absolute loss for the students of this district and the employees of this district."
With the announcement of her hire at Mass Insight, Lusi has, in a way, switched places with Chris Maher, a former Mass Insight president now serving as interim superintendent in Providence. Maher was part of a team that audited the district's central administration office and urged a reorganization to better meet the needs of principals and families.
Providence is expected to name a permanent superintendent this spring.
"When I was superintendent of Providence Schools, the organization was my most valued partner when it came to developing the strategies and practices needed for school and district transformation," Lusi said of the experience with Mass Insight.
In the official announcement of her hire, Lusi said she looks forward to working for an organization focused on increasing student achievement and college access.
"I relish the opportunity to do this work on behalf of children in some of our neediest systems, particularly with new opportunities to rethink how we support underperforming schools and systems in ways that lead to graduating all students ready for success in college and career," Lusi said.