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Front-runners emerge for East District seat

Two frontrunners have emerged for the East District seat: Theresa Harris-Tigg and Rosalyn Taylor.

Harris-Tigg Harris-Tigg, you might recall, ran against Vivian Evans in May and lost by 15 votes. Once Evans resigned in mid-December, Harris-Tigg seemed to be the initial favorite of some board members. A Buffalo State College English professor, she also spent several years teaching in the Buffalo Public Schools.

But Buffalo Teachers Federation President Phil Rumore has made no secret of the union's opposition to her, saying she crossed the picket line a decade ago. Harris-Tigg disputes that, saying that the strike was not called until she was already at school, working with students. She says she did not cross a picket line, but did decide to stay with those students that day.

The BTF was considering soliciting its own candidate to challenge Harris-Tigg when Rumore heard that Taylor had presented herself as a candidate. Taylor, now retired, spent her career in the Buffalo Public Schools, working her way up to assistant superintendent, a position she held for more than decade.

Rosalyn Taylor Given her long history in the district, she has ties to many board members in various ways. Her most direct connection is probably with Mary Ruth Kapsiak, who worked as an administrator under Taylor for some time before retiring and running for the board. The two enjoyed a good working relationship.

Because she retired in 2006, Taylor is known to the longer-serving board members, including Florence Johnson, who became familiar with her work as an administrator in the district.

Both Taylor and Harris-Tigg have already begun lining up one-on-one chats with board members to lobby for support.

Meanwhile...

Sunshine has apparently begun to filter through the windows of City Hall.

Chief of Staff Jim Kane agreed to release the resumes of the six eligible candidates. In response to a Buffalo News request for the resumes shortly after the noon deadline today, his staff checked with the district's attorney to find out whether they could release the resumes. When I called to get the answer, a very polite Kane took the call himself and offered to have one of his staff e-mail me the resumes.

Kane said 14 or 15 people submitted resumes for the position, but many were deemed ineligible, either because they did not live in the East District or because they worked for the district. In the end, six candidates met the requirements. They include one candidate we have not already reported on: Anthony Mastrangelo, a 2003 McKinley High School graduate who now works at Kiss 98.5 and works as a DJ.

Here are the resumes of the final six candidates:

- Chris W. Brown Jr.

- Theresa A. Harris-Tigg

- Frank Leli

- Anthony Mastrangelo

- Kent A.H. Olden

- Rosalyn L. Taylor

(The resumes are of public interest because of the candidates' experience and background. All that information is provided here. The Buffalo News whited out candidates' phone numbers and home addresses, as we did not consider that information to be central to the issue at hand.)

The board will hold a special meeting at 5 p.m. Thursday in Room 801 City Hall to interview the candidates. Robert J. Freeman, the state's leading authority on open government, has said the interviews and board deliberations should be public. District officials have balked at the thought of breaking with past practice to open the process, and board members have said they are waiting for an opinion from the district's attorney before deciding how to proceed.

In the meantime, Buffalo ReformED, an education reform group closely tied to local charter schools, is collecting signatures on an online petition, urging the board to keep the process open. Assemblyman Sam Hoyt, who is closely aligned with the group, has also chimed in, sending a letter to the board president in support of having the process play out in public.

- Mary Pasciak

E-mail me at mpasciak@buffnews.com or follow me on Follow  SchoolZoneBlog on Twitter Twitter. Check out the Buffalo News' education page at www.buffalonews.com/schools.

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