Larry Eichler, who has been the acting executive director of the Providence Talks education program, has left City Hall. Eichler confirmed his resignation today in a brief interview, saying he is leaving to ``explore other opportunities.’’
Providence Talks is the celebrated program, funded by a $5 million grant from a philanthropy financed by the media magnate and former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, that is trying to help disadvantaged children expand their vocabularies.
Providence Talks was started under former Mayor Angel Taveras and has drawn national acclaim from educators and even the New Yorker magazine.
The focus is on children for birth to age 4. The idea is to make children from poor backgrounds ready for school. In Providence, just one in three kindergarten students enters the classroom with appropriate literacy skills. Providence Talks also seeks to empower parents by helping them work with their children on improving literacy.
Evan England, spokesman for Mayor Jorge Elorza, said a search for a new executive director has been launched.
Another reason Eichler will be missed at City Hall: He has extensive experience in assessing minor league baseball franchises, an asset that would have come in handy given the proposal by the new owners of the Pawtucket Red Sox to move the team from McCoy Stadium to a new ballpark to be built on the Providence downtown waterfront. Eichler was part of an investment group that successfully moved a minor league franchise from northern Virginia to a new stadium in Wilmington, Delaware.