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PROVIDENCE – Rhode Island Education Commissioner Deborah A. Gist recently received the eighth annual Brighter Futures Award from Family Service of Rhode Island.
“We are honoring another education visionary this year,” said Margaret Holland McDuff, Family Service of Rhode Island CEO, in a statement. “Her vision, her leadership, her energy have been an inspiration.”
Gist will not be able to accept the award in person at a scheduled Oct. 2 luncheon. She will take a two-month leave of absence from the education department this fall to undergo surgery and recovery from what it is believed to be a benign brain tumor.
The Family Service of Rhode Island holds the luncheon each year for some 500 attendees. The nonprofit, which serves traumatized and abused children and families in poverty, is developing a program during which an as-yet unnamed person will accept the award on Gist’s behalf.
Previous Brighter Futures Award winners include the Boston Red Sox, Pawtucket Red Sox and Geoffrey Canada, who heads New York’s Harlem Children’s Zone and has been named one of Time magazine’s 100 most-influential people in the world. •