A Conversation with Our New Director,
Dr. Michael Finley

Q. What drives your work in education?
A. “I went into education because I had a model teacher who inspired me. I’m finishing my fourteenth year in education. In that time, I’ve been a classroom teacher, a coach, a grade-level chair, an assistant principal, and a principal. Most important, I’m a mentor to students, which is my passion.

I love trying to connect the dots for students; trying to create the best conditions for them to learn…to help them develop academically and in the social and emotional aspects of life. If you can be an inspiration and you can help a kid turn the corner by what you say, by how you carry yourself as a professional, and by providing resources they need, it’s the best thing in the world to see them turn the corner. That’s what makes my heart beat a little harder.”

Q. What led you to UCAP?
A. “I believe in UCAP’s mission to remove barriers that are in the way of kids accessing a good education. I have experienced some of the struggles that many UCAP students experience. Students need consistency and a place to come to that they consider their safe place. I believe that is a major strength of UCAP. It is providing a consistent space in a way that meets kids where they are. Some students lack the consistency outside of school needed to help them be successful. UCAP has done a great job in connecting students with after-school activities and enhancing their education through its Beyond U Program.”

Q. How can we help students learn?
A. “If you really want to know what kids need, you need to talk to their teachers. And listen to them. My experience as a teacher and a leader is that students need consistency, safety, a voice in their education, and someone to believe in them.

Middle school kids are curious. They want to figure things out. They’re capable of doing what they want to do; they just have to put in the effort. Giving them more voice and choice in the classroom is important to help them facilitate their own learning. I think it’s
our job to connect their learning to the bigger picture. However, that doesn’t happen overnight. They need positive reinforcement to help facilitate their educational process successfully.

I look at students as seeds…you have to water them, and you have to give them sun. They don’t all sprout at the same time. They might not get it the first day, second day, they might not get it all that year, but you have to believe that with effort and support each student is capable of learning at a high level in their own way. You have to give your all in helping them through that process. I will work with our students to help them carry themselves upright and head held high because they’re golden. I want people to see the gold.”

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Dr. Michael Finley
Executive Director

Chris Cuthbertson
Interim Principal

Abraham Henderson
Dean of Students

Elisa Almonte
Director of Beyond U Programs

Carolyn Taylor
Director of Special Ed

Deb Ferrara
Director’s Assistant

Nathan Kaufman
Business Manager

Carrie Chekal
Director of Development and Communications

Reece Franklin
Computer – IT

Jeff Guillemette
Joe Killilea

John Kraskouskas
Lu-Ann Masse

Tracey Bolton
Lisa Massey

Briana Casale
Phil Silva

Mimi Tsiane

Fermin Ciprian

JoAnn Luongo

Theresa James

Steffanie Hozempa

Carolina Almonte

Lady Jaramillo

Muriel Ouellette

Pat DiLucido
Pat Riley

Richard Moriarty

Katheryne Mejia
Rafaelina Olivences
Flo Silva

75 Carpenter Street Providence RI   |   401-272-0881

The teachers and staff never gave up on me.

Jesus Nunez, former UCAP student

Freshman at Johnson & Wales University studying business administration