Wed June 13, 2012
Buffalo school board picks Dr. Pamela Brown as next superintendent
Buffalo's Public Schools will be under the leadership of a new superintendent in the fall, with the election of Dr. Pamela Brown to head the district. The city school board voted 7-2 Wednesday night in favor of the veteran educator.
"Such a very vital position. Everyone has strong feelings. We strived to come up with a unanimous decision," said School Board President Lou Petrucci following Wednesday night's nomination and public vote at City Hall.
Pamela Brown was one of three finalists for the superintendent's job, along with interim super Amber Dixon and former Baltimore County administrator Edward Newsome, Junior.
The district has been without a permanent superintendent since the resignation of Dr. James Williams in September of last year. The 57-year-old Brown has worked as a principal and top administrator for the past 18 years, including stops in Charlotte, North Carolina, Richmond, Virginia, and Philadelphia, where she most recently served as assistant superintendent and chief academic officer. She's been praised for her record of increasing student achievement and for her ability to work with unions.
Board President Petrucci said he hopes Brown can build on the momentum he's seen in the district over the past year.
"There's a variety of things we really wish to accomplish and hopefully Dr. Brown will be there to help us accomplish those goals," said Petrucci.
The board voted for Brown without a contract agreement in place. Several components, including salary and an evaluation method, must still be finalized. Once those elements are agreed upon, Brown could be in place as early as July 1st.
"We still need to offer this to Dr. Brown. She still needs to accept and we still need to finalize the contract between ourselves and the board," said Petrucci.
During a visit to Buffalo earlier this month, Brown told reporters that in a cursory overview of the city's schools, she finds the city's high dropout rate and low high school graduation rate greatly troubling.
"I would want to look, in much more detail, at what kinds of strategies have been tried here in the district to greatly increase that graduation rate and reduce the dropout rate. I would come here with a sense of urgency in terms of really improving both of those. It just does not bode well at all for the children of [the] Buffalo Public Schools or for the city," Brown said.
Brown said she encountered a similar situation in Philadelphia and Richmond, Virginia. She made it clear she wants the top schools' post in Buffalo.
"I bring with me a a great deal of passion for the work of administration and, hopefully, for the superintendency, as well," said Brown.
Petrucci says he expects Brown's salary to be in the range of $210,000 to $230,000 dollars, with a term of 3-4 years. The supeintendent-elect did not attend last night's board meeting, but she is expected to be in Buffalo sometime next week.