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Go Local Prov: 17 Who Made a Difference in RI in 2017

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

GoLocalProv News

These are Rhode Islanders who impacted the White House, the State House, the courthouse — and your house.
They led, transformed, and were assigned to clean up financial and political catastrophes. Each of the 17 impacted 2017 in many ways that were unforeseen. The economy showed signs of life driven by incentives and innovation, but Rhode Island also faced a range of challenges. The UHIP failure, which left thousands of the neediest without benefits along with the St. Joseph pension fund collapse are both dramatic and heartbreaking episodes that carry into the new year.

Keith Oliveira

Keith Oliveira has been a mainstay in the state’s education community for years, and his leadership and advocacy for Rhode Island’s youth was on clear display in 2017.

While serving as the Chief Operating Officer at the Rhode Island Nurses Institute Middle College, Oliveira took a firm stand when opponents to recently elected Donald Trump posted a profane sign directly across the street from the school.

“What have we come to as a society when students can’t come to school without having to look at profanity right out their classroom window? [This is] profanity by an adult person directly at kids,” said Oliveira when the sign reappeared.

“When did that become acceptable? This not about protected speech,” said Oliveira. “This is about common courtesy and decency. All we’re asking for is some common courtesy.”

Oliveira was named the Executive Director of the Rhode Island League of Charter Schools in June — tackled thorny issues including Trump’s immigration policies — and how they could impact students in Providence — as well as a controversial admissions policy by Beacon Charter School which was not in accordance with the League’s, at a time when thousands of students and families are looking for spaces in the public school alternatives.