The Buffalo School Board agreed on a job description for an interim superintendent Wednesday but disagreed on whether the two incoming board members, Larry Quinn and Patti Bowers Pierce, should be allowed to sit in on candidate interviews.
An early draft of the three-page job description requires that a new interim leader of Buffalo Public Schools possess the proper state certifications, as well as eight years of supervisory experience, preferably in a diverse urban school district.
Board majority and minority factions had surprisingly few disagreements regarding the draft job descriptions, which they discussed during a special meeting. The job description includes some routine educational leadership language, including having a strategic vision, identifying district priorities, having a track record of success and effective communication skills.
The board also agreed during its special meeting that the next interim superintendent:
• Must have building-level administrative leadership experience, such as being a former principal.
• Should have experience turning around struggling schools.
• Must have a background in curriculum and instruction, and best practices.
• Must be willing to have their names publicly released if they make the short list of finalists.
• Would preferably be from or reside in Western New York.
• Should have excellent financial planning and management skills.
A final draft of the job description is expected as soon as today.
However, board President Barbara Nevergold and other members of the majority said they do not want to include incoming board members Quinn and Pierce in any interviews unless they are already seated on the board in July.
Board member Mary Ruth Kapsiak said that nonboard members have never been allowed to participate in the interview process for a new superintendent.
“It doesn’t happen,” she said. “It’s not even ethical.”
Carl Paladino then demanded that the district’s outside education lawyer, Karl Kristoff, provide his legal opinion on this matter.
He added that it was “illogical” for the board to consider interviewing candidates in a process that would deliberately exclude any board members who will be working with the future district leader.
“I won’t participate in an interview process that doesn’t include the two newly elected board members,” Paladino later said.
Quinn said he and Pierce will interview candidates on their own if they are not included in the board’s process.
In other news, the board voted, 6-2, on a resolution recommended by Superintendent Pamela Brown to allow Martin Luther King Multicultural Institute to be closed and relaunched as a Buffalo Medical Campus High School.
But that vote does not necessarily mean MLK will be converted.
Paladino, who is opposed to roughly 570 current students being displaced from MLK, technically voted in favor of the motion. However, he said he only voted yes so that in July he can have the new board “reconsider” the entire motion and have it defeated.
The incoming majority opposes the placement of the new Buffalo Medical Campus High School at MLK.
For a complete breakdown of Wednesday’s board meetings, review the live blog here.