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Providence schools spent $187,000 on inspirational books. Now it has no plans to use them


Now Gallo, a 69-year-old veteran administrator who was appointed in August to temporarily run the cash-strapped school district, admits it was a “mistake” to not thoroughly vet the book before buying 16,500 copies. In hindsight, she said she would have picked a more mainstream title.

“LeBron what’s-his-name has a book out,” she said, referring to the best-known NBA player these days, LeBron James. “But I didn’t know that then.”

Gallo said she read “Shoot Your Shot,” authored by Vernon Brundage Jr., prior to purchasing it, and the religious references didn’t alarm her. The breezy read uses stories from professional basketball stars to inspire readers to accomplish their goals.

She said the book is meant to teach “grit and perseverance,” but she now sees why some teachers were uncomfortable using it.

“Teachers clearly opened my eyes that there were religious factors in the book,” Gallo said. “I wasn’t reading the book for religious overtones. I was reading it for sports and relationships and allowing people to be vulnerable.”

Published in 2018, the book tells various stories about how the world’s top basketball players have overcome adversity. In the foreword, Brundage explains that “I identify more with Russell Westbrook than I do with Mark Zuckerberg. And, I am personally more inspired by Kobe Bryant than I am by Reverend Al Sharpton.”


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