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Nevergold appointed to School Board; Longtime educator elected on 5-3 vote

Barbara A. Seals Nevergold was selected Wednesday as the new at-large member of the Buffalo Board of Education by a 5-3 vote.

The longtime educator will fill the at-large seat on the board that was vacated by Chris Jacobs when he was elected Erie County clerk.

Nevergold, 67, is co-founder and co-director of the Uncrowned Queens Institute for Research and Education on Women, as well as an adjunct assistant professor at Empire State College and a former French teacher.

During Thursday's special board meeting, board member Rosalyn L. Taylor described Nevergold as the best-qualified among a field of 14 "qualified and highly impressive candidates" for the at-large seat on the board, all of whom were interviewed by the board's executive affairs committee Dec. 21.

"I think [Nevergold] brings a lot of qualities to the table. She's very knowledgeable. She has been involved in the community and the educational arena, both as a French teacher, guidance counselor, college professor," said Taylor.

Taylor was joined by board members Sharon Belton-Cottman, Mary Ruth Kapsiak, Florence Johnson and Ralph Hernandez in voting in favor of Nevergold's appointment to the board.

Board President Louis J. Petrucci on Wednesday withdrew his name from consideration as a candidate to replace Jacobs.

"I've been contacted from many of you, and I've been asked to take my name out of the race for a variety of different reasons. Some board members felt it looked like the process would be skewed if I continued. Others felt that I had an unfair advantage," Petrucci said.

However, Petrucci joined board members Jason McCarthy and John B. Licata in voting against Nevergold's appointment.

Licata said that while he was impressed with Nevergold's qualifications, he was concerned about having a broader representation on the board.

"I was very impressed with Dr. Nevergold. I don't think anybody who meets Dr. Nevergold could help but be impressed with her," Licata said, directing his remarks to Taylor.

"We have a number of educators on the board already. We have college professor Florence Johnson, we have you and Mary Ruth also being educators. My concern is to get a different point of view on the board," Licata added.

Nevergold will be one of four former Buffalo Public School educators currently serving on the board. Both Licata and Petrucci expressed a preference for James M. Sampson, president of Gateway-Longview and president of the board for Buffalo ReformED, as a replacement for Jacobs.

Hernandez said that, in addition to her qualifications, he was most impressed with Nevergold's integrity.

"This is a woman that has been involved in the community for like 40, 50 years, educated, well-versed on the issues. She certainly did a very respectable job through the interview process," Hernandez said.

Nevergold is scheduled to be sworn in at the board's next meeting on Wednesday.