PROVIDENCE – R.I. Department of Education Commissioner Deborah A. Gist will undergo surgery to remove a believed benign brain tumor next month and will take an approximate two-month leave of absence for recovery, the department announced Tuesday.
Doctors discovered the tumor, believed to be a meningioma, during Gist’s recovery from a concussion she sustained in early July. Meningiomas are commonly non-life threatening.
“I am…grateful for the outstanding team at [the department] that has been working hard to transform education and that will continue to lead these efforts during my recovery,” Gist said in a statement.
Gist will work on a limited schedule up until the late September surgery in order to recover from the concussion before her operation and plans to return to the department full time after her surgery recovery.
“I know that the Commissioner faces this challenge with a positive attitude and a tenacious spirit, which will help her make a quick recovery,” Gov. Lincoln D. Chafee said in a statement.
The Board of Regents for Elementary and Secondary Education Chairman George Caruolo said plans are in place to help the department run without interruption in Gist’s absence.