About Us


Citizens Exploring School Unification (CESU) | Improving Educational Outcomes and Opportunities for all


  • Richard P. Adams - President
  • Janet Kelly McCarthy – Vice President
  • William W. “Chip” Leakas - Treasurer
  • Ronald Héroux - Secretary

To explore, define and consider potential educational, extracurricular and financial benefits of Middletown and Newport school unification. 

Thank you for adding your name to the supporters of high school unification on our Island.  

We are truly a grass-roots group with no official connection to any municipality, although our Steering Committee is comprised solely of Middletown residents.  *Steering Committee photo coming soon!  

We have formed an informal ad hoc committee of Newport, Portsmouth and Middletown residents who believe that perpetuating the status quo of small, separate high schools is a prescription for guaranteeing mediocre performance and limited educational opportunities.

It is our intention to continue to make unification an issue and to promote citizen-led conversations as to how unification can be accomplished.  We expect to hold occasional public meeting to keep the public informed of our discussions and findings.

For now, we are simply trying to measure the depth of public support for high school unification and to collect and codify the ideas and comments of unification supporters.

Thank you again for your expression of support.  Please ask your like-minded friends and neighbors to add their names to our growing list of supporters. 

We do not doubt that moving the idea of unification forward is a difficult task, but we are determined to give unification a fair and open hearing and to develop a road-map of the way forward to a better education for our students.

Share your thoughts with us - send an email today to:

About Us

Richard Adams, President

Richard Adams, President


 "It is inconceivable to me, and an assault on my common sense that Middletown and Newport will choose to build or massively renovate two separate 500-600 student, mediocre high schools within 6 miles of each other.  We can and should do so much better."

A native of Anniston, Alabama, Mr. Adams holds a BS from the University of Virginia and MS degrees from the Naval Postgraduate School and Salve Regina University.  He is a retired senior Naval Officer and Electric Boat/General Dynamics Principal Engineer.  A Middletown resident for 35 years, he has served on the Middletown Planning Board, Town Council and a variety of Town standing and special committees.  Mr. Adams is a Board member of the Aquidneck Island Planning Commission and is Vice-Chair the Edward King House Senior Center Board of Directors. 


Janet Kelly McCarthy – Vice President


“I believe the Town Of Middletown has a duty to explore all educational options in order to make informed decisions about the future of our schools. It is time to focus on the creation of a 21st century public school system of the highest quality.”

Mrs. McCarthy has been a Middletown resident since 1958 and a taxpayer since 1972. She is a product of the Middletown Public School System (MHS class of 1967) as are her children (Michael ’95, Kelly ’96 and Rian ’00.) She holds a BA in Biology and Secondary Education from the University of Rhode Island and a MEd in School Counseling from Providence College. During her career she has been a science teacher and a school counselor working in both the Newport and Middletown school districts. After her retirement from public school service she was appointed to the position of School Liaison Officer for the Naval Station Newport representing military families in schools throughout Rhode Island. She worked there until retiring in 2015.

As a lifetime public educator she believe that the quality of our schools is the foundation of a vibrant, forward thinking community that provides a first-rate quality of life.


William W. “Chip” Leakas - Treasurer

"At the local, national and global levels - we have fallen far behind when it comes to educational standards, proficiency and outcomes in preparing our students for tomorrow.  From a holistic viewpoint - we need to improve our infrastructure, processes and resources to meet this need - and can best do that when we all work together to achieve mutually beneficial outcomes."

Since moving to New England in 2006, I have been active in many community oriented causes and non-profit organizations focused on improving outcomes for all.  I've been a resident of Middletown for 10 years now. For the last 25 years my career focus has been in marketing, web design, public relations, eCommerce, eMarketing and Social Media marketing. Currently I work as a Corporate Trainer for Citizens Bank.

Ron Heroux

Ronald Héroux - Secretary

 "It is imperative that Middletown explore the pros and cons of unifying the school systems of Newport and Middletown so that an intelligent decision can be made on this issue based on ALL the facts—financial, educational and social." 

 Brief Bio:

Doctorate:  Administration
Masters: Educational Technology
Masters: Library Science
BA: Political Science

Work Experience:
- Project Mgr and Technology Transfer Specialist at Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC)

Volunteer Activities:
-Board Member of RI Coalition of Library Advocates
-Member of Family Council at RI Veterans Home
- Volunteer worker in Middletown Elementary School Libraries

Military Experience:
Journalist in US Navy