School Board should give up the effort to set Guinn up as interim leader - The Buffalo News
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School Board should give up the effort to set Guinn up as interim leader

The Buffalo School Board did some of its best work Wednesday by doing nothing to advance a leadership transition plan. Members should keep up the good work.

The School Board leadership will shift in July, when new members take their seats. In the meantime, no decisions, big or small, should be made about temporary leadership of the school district upon the departure of Superintendent Pamela C. Brown.

But, true to form, the current board majority continues to push its own agenda, which involves naming Mary Guinn – a lightning rod for controversy – as interim superintendent to lead the district for a few months.

Yet Board Member Mary Ruth Kapsiak used Guinn’s checkered tenure here to insist, “We cannot afford to have someone come in who has to be brought up to speed on what is going on in the district right now.”

James Sampson, Jason McCarthy and Carl Paladino, members of the board minority who will be in the majority come July, have it right. If Brown resigns before July 1, the board should name an interim superintendent who would be contracted to serve only until the new board is seated.

And that person should not be Guinn, who, as they said, is relatively new to the district. Her short tenure here just seems longer because of the poorly managed way she was introduced, or some might say foisted, onto the district.

Guinn was a highly paid consultant with Cross & Joftus. Last fall, both she and the firm were terminated by the board after a rough go here. Guinn held the title of interim deputy superintendent and leadership consultant for six months last year, and became viewed by many on the board, in the community and within the central administration as a polarizing figure.

But that criticism didn’t stop Brown from springing a surprise move to rehire Guinn, at a salary of $175,000, at the end of a long board meeting after most members of the public had left.

Guinn possesses the school district leader certification needed to remain interim leader, but her record shows she is unsuited for the job. Her presence in the district has been a sore spot that shouldn’t be scratched open by saddling the new board with an unwanted leader.

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