Two city school administrators placed on leave, school board president calls it 'oversight'

Mar 21, 2014

The superintendent of Buffalo's schools has placed two school administrators on unpaid leave for lack of proper certification.

Buffalo School Board member Carl Paladino speaking during Wednesday's School Board meeting at Waterfront School.
Credit WBFO News photo by Mike Desmond

Superintendent Pamela Brown issued the following statement late Thursday night:  

"It has come to our attention that there are two individuals whose certifications are in question.  Until those questions are resolved, I, as the Superintendent, have determined that it is in the best interest of the District to place them in a leave status.

This is not to be interpreted as a disciplinary action.  It is an appropriate action for a school district to take in a situation such as this."

The issue surfaced at Wednesday night's school board meeting. School Board member Carl 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 Pamela Brown from the  same consulting company where deputy superintendent Mary Guinn was working.  But School Board president Barbara Seals-Nevergold defends Brown's decision. She places accountability on human resources and the hires.

Buffalo School board president Barbara Seals-Nevergold.
Credit WBFO News file photo

"The accountability goes much further.  Certainly we have the human resources department. It has the responsibility to check for all of the credentialing of any staff who apply for positions," said Seals-Nevergold.  "There's also accountability on the part of the two employees.  They certainly, I believe, knew that the credentialing wasn't complete."

Brown, in a second written statement Friday afternoon, said "Each of these candidates emerged as being best qualified for the positions they were hired to fulfill.  Each holds a doctorate degree in education and has extensive field experience.  Each candidate has administration certification in another state. 

They were hired on the basis of their merits and regardless of any other affiliations.  The salary range for these positions is between $130,000 and $135,000 annually." Seals-Nevergold told WBFO News it was a "major oversight".  Seals-Nevergold said learning the two administrators failed to have certification came as a  "surprise" to her. "Even though I had some information that led me to believe that they were," noted Seals-Nevergold.