Mrs. Bethany Coughlin Named the 2024 Principal of the Year For Secondary Schools by the Rhode Island Association of School Principals


Cumberland, RI– The Cumberland School District is proud to announce that Mrs. Bethany Coughlin, Principal of North Cumberland Middle School, has been named the 2024 Principal of the Year for Secondary Schools by the Rhode Island Association of School Principals (RIASP).  

Mrs. Coughlin has spent her entire career in the Cumberland Public School District. She first started as a teacher of mathematics, moved to Assistant Principal of Joseph L. McCourt Middle School, and for the last twelve years, she has been the Principal of North Cumberland Middle School (NCMS). Under her leadership, she has transformed NCMS into a collaborative learning community for both teachers and students leading to a culture of high expectations for all. She is an outstanding leader who puts students and their learning first every single day.

Mrs. Coughlin is passionate about providing every student with a rich, rigorous, and meaningful curriculum. She collaborates with district leadership, curriculum coordinators, and the faculty in each core academic department to lead the vertical and horizontal alignment at each grade level in curriculum, instruction, and assessments. NCMS’s success can be attributed to her focus on student data to make informed decisions regarding instruction and curriculum that positively impact students. Mrs. Coughlin develops schoolwide goals by analyzing data to support improved instruction and targeted student growth. She holds all stakeholders accountable by providing frequent detailed reports on the progress towards meeting those goals.  She constantly highlights the dedication of the teachers in our building, provides daily support for teachers, and keeps student success at the forefront of all decisions. As a result, NCMS earned a 5 star status for the 2022-2023 school year, an accomplishment that makes teachers, students, and parents proud. Over the last few years, under Mrs. Coughlin’s leadership, NCMS has continuously been ranked amongst the top middle schools in the state of RI as indicated through RIDE accountability measures. Due to her dynamic leadership and laser focus on teaching and learning, NCMS has made great gains toward growth in student achievement year after year. 

Dr. Philip Thorton, Superintendent of Cumberland Schools, adds,  “It has been my great pleasure to have been able to work with Principal Beth Coughlin over these past many years. Beth’s strong leadership and her ability to consistently focus on the work of teaching and learning, certainly has been a part of what makes North Cumberland Middle School such a special place.”

Antonio DiManna, Assistant Superintendent of Cumberland schools, says, “Mrs. Coughlin has been a high performing administrator in the Cumberland School Department for well over a decade.  She has specialized in transforming building culture, and has placed student needs and academic performance at the forefront of her schools’ priorities.”

Mr. DiManna continues, “Mrs. Coughlin is an outstanding academic leader who understands the current climate in education and always seeks actionable outcomes and solutions for any challenges she may face.  Beth is a seasoned and experienced administrator who is able to handle the most difficult of circumstances with keen instincts and sound decision-making skills.  Students who are in Beth’s care are fortunate in that they can rely on her to ensure they will receive the best education.  The Cumberland School Department values Mrs. Coughlin’s outstanding ability to lead NCMS as a perennially top academic Middle School competitor in ELA and Math performance within our state.”

Mrs. Tanya Rao, Assistant Principal of North Cumberland Middle School, has had the privilege to work with Mrs. Coughlin over the last 9 years, including two years together as a team of Principal and Assistant Principal. Mrs. Rao says, “Beth is so passionate about her work as an educator. Her focus on student achievement never wavers, so every decision is made to ensure students receive any and all of the supports they need to find success at NCMS. She is the consummate professional in everything she does and I could not ask for a better partner in leadership.”


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