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Marilyn Rosenblat Sernaker devoted her career to the belief that all children are capable of high achievement, provided they are given proper guidance and instruction.

Mrs. Sernaker, a prominent educator in the Buffalo Public Schools, died Tuesday (Oct. 29, 1996) in Cleveland Clinic of Florida, Fort Lauderdale, after a long illness. She was 69.

Mrs. Sernaker, who served as assistant superintendent of curriculum evaluation and development, was best known for her work with the magnet school models that were implemented by the Board of Education. She was able to obtain multiple grants to fund the magnet school curriculums.

Through her efforts, the Academy for Visual and Performing Arts, the Montessori School, the Waterfront School, City Honors, Buffalo Traditional, Campus East and Campus West, and the Early Childhood Centers were established.

In addition, the Buffalo Teachers Center was founded under her aegis, and hundreds of teachers received training in new and innovative methods over the years.

She also worked actively with the compensatory education programs in Buffalo public and non-public schools. Her office initiated the first videotape library in the Buffalo public and parochial schools.

Mrs. Sernaker also was one of the founders of the National School Desegregation Committee. Under Ford Foundation grants, she served as a consultant to many cities, assisting them in developing programs for desegregation. They included Cleveland, Providence, R.I., and Poughkeepsie.

She was honored by the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development as an outstanding educator and was a member of Pi Lambda Theta and Phi Kappa Delta national education honor societies. She received numerous other awards and honors.

Mrs. Sernaker, known to many of her friends as Mary Lou, was born and raised in Buffalo, the daughter of Dr. Samuel and Jean Sherris. Her father was a longtime Buffalo dentist.

She was a graduate of School 21 and Bennett High School. She attended the University of Illinois and received her bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Buffalo. She took additional courses at UB.

She began her career as a preschool teacher, then became an elementary teacher and a reading teacher. She later was a districtwide reading specialist, supervisor of evaluation and director of curriculum development. She retired in 1984 as assistant superintendent of curriculum evaluation and development. In retirement, she continued to serve the Buffalo Public Schools as a consultant.

A former colleague called Mrs. Sernaker "a bright star in Buffalo education."

The former Marilyn Sherris married Burton I. Rosenblat in Buffalo in 1948. They lived in Buffalo, Eggertsville and Amherst. After retirement, they maintained homes in Amherst and Delray Beach, Fla. He died in 1991.

She was a member of Temple Beth Zion and numerous education and social organizations. She was a talented designer and creator of hand-painted clothing and did sculpture in Lucite.

She is survived by her second husband, Dr. Charles Sernaker, a retired dentist; a daughter, Ilene Gelber of East Amherst; and two grandsons.

Memorial services will be conducted at 1 p.m. Friday in Sisterhood Chapel of Temple Beth Zion, 805 Delaware Ave.


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