September 7, 2018


Dear students and families,


I am so excited to meet you and get to know each and everyone of you and your families. I will start by telling you a little about myself, my family and my educational philosophy.


I was born and raised in Newport. I went to Thompson Junior High, now Thompson Middle School and graduated from Rogers in 1982. I went to Northeastern University and earned a B.S in English. At Northeastern, I had the opportunity to work in a variety of educational settings. I also did a semester of Outward Bound. These experiences instilled in me the desire to work in middle schools.


Before coming to teach in Newport schools, I taught in Central Falls and alternative programs around the state. This is my 29th year teaching, 19 years here at Thompson. I love teaching at TMS!


I am married to Joe Olaynack. We have known each other since Kindergarten, we met in Kindergarten at the former Sheffield School. He also graduated from Rogers. We have 3 kids: JoJo is 19 years old and is a freshman at Springfield College, and plays college soccer; Maddie is 17 and a senior at Middletown High School, she is president of her class and goalie on the MHS girls soccer team; Ryan is 15 and a sophomore, at Middletown High School, he is also his class co president and sails 3 seasons as well as teaches sailing in the summer.We also have a sweet yellow lab named Daisy, she is 9 years old and loves to swim and find big sticks.


This summer was great! I started the summer by seeing my favorite band U2 in concert in Boston. I enjoyed watching World Cup soccer with family and friends. I read several books, and met with my book club to discuss three great books. I love to read on the beach, stand up paddle board, practice yoga and host get togethers. I went to the Narragansett Native American Pow Wow where I spent time with 2 students, their families and their tribe. I  did a lot of yoga this summer and I am training for a 10k road race in late September. Each week I spent a couple hours in our TMS Community garden, harvesting veggies, weeding and watering. Most importantly, I spent quality time with family and friends.


The start of the school year is an anxious time. I want to make it as smooth as possible. I expect that students come to ELA class prepared with a pencil, an independent reading book and ready to give their best effort.


One way to better get to know you is to have each student write me a letter and tell me: about yourself,  your family, your summer and your expectations for the upcoming school year.


I look forward to getting to know you and to having a great year.


All the best,

Mrs. Lisa Olaynack