Paladino uncovers more school district employees without proper credentials

Mar 25, 2014

Buffalo School Board member Carl Paladino tells WBFO News he has uncovered more district employees lacking proper credentials.

Paladino says Bennett High School principal Terry Ross,  who was appointed last summer, didn't receive the proper credentials until February 1.

Bennett High School.

"The principal at Bennett High School was appointed last summer, served in that capacity without being licensed as a school building administrator until February first when a conditional license was given to him," said Paladino.

WBFO News reached out to the superintendent's office for a response to Paladiono's findings. They issued the following written statement:

"Bennett High School Principal Dr. Terry Ross first applied in June 2013 for the New York State equivalent to certification he holds in Mississippi: School Building Leader, Professional Certification. 

Pending reciprocity review, he then applied for School Building Leader, Initial Certification, in November of 2013, which was issued in early December of 2013.  Certifications issued prior to December 4th, 2013 are listed as having an effective date of February 1st.

The New York State Education Department normally allows 40 days for applicants to gain eligibility status while working as a School Building Leader.  The process to become effective took slightly more than 40 days into the school year."

Paladino said he also discovered that the superintendent of the Education Partnership Organization (EPO), which is working to turn around East and Lafayette High Schools, lacks needed certification.

"The fact is that Mrs. Branch, the superintendent of the EPO's Education Partnership that presently operate the East High School and Lafayette, is not certified with a district license. She is only certified with a school building license and therefore she is out of certification too," said Paladino. 

Buffalo School Board member Carl Paladino.
Credit WBFO News file photo

Last week, schools superintendent Pamela Brown said two high-level administrators were working in the district without New York State certification. The issue surfaced at Wednesday night's school board meeting. Paladino submitted a resolution during that session calling the district to put Yamilette Williams and Faith Morrison Alexander on leave.

Williams serves as chief of curriculum, assessment and instruction. Alexander is chief of school leadership. Both were hired out-of-state by schools superintendent Brown from the same consulting company where deputy superintendent Mary Guinn was working. 

Paladino says the two women are no longer working for the district. He says he will ask the board to act on his latest discoveries at Wednesday night's school board meeting. 

Paladino also tells WBFO he plans to call, once again, for the firing of Superintendent Brown and Deputy Superintendent Guinn. Guinn, a controversial consulting figure hired by Brown from a consulting group, was fired and then recently rehired as deputy superintendent. 

"We're going to talk about discharging Mary Guinn and the superintendent. I haven't made the motions yet, but we will see if we can raise the issue to board members Wednesday night and we will see how they feel," said Paladino.