As noted in today's story, Interim Superintendent Donald Ogilvie shocked the School Board by issuing an email to all members Thursday afternoon telling them he has called off his search for a deputy superintendent because candidate James Weimer Jr. no longer wishes to be considered for the job, leaving only one remaining candidate by default, Associate Superintendent Will Keresztes.
His full email message, posted below, includes his urging that the board move forward collaboratively to develop a unified vision and work together to select a future superintendent.
I was advised this morning by James Weimer that he no longer wants to be considered for the Deputy Superintendent position.
After my consideration of many factors, including the fact that only one candidate remains by default, I believe it to be in the District’s best interests to discontinue the search to fill the Deputy Superintendent position. I have notified all applicants and am hereby canceling the interviews scheduled with Cabinet and Board of Education scheduled respectively for April 24 and 27.
The question remains, where does the Board go from here in light of my departure? Leadership succession has been on the Board’s table for several months. In preparation for the transition I have been able to organize a leadership team and rely upon exempt staff despite the tense relationships within the Board.
Last fall the Board in a unanimous vote approved my central office reorganization which created this leadership team. The team is comprised of five positions that brought all aspects of district operation into one body. I serve as leader of and counselor to that group. In my mind, future superintendents must be genuine and confident concerning the culture of collaboration and inclusiveness that will be required of them. This leadership team was able to develop the Plan of School Redesign for 2014-17, which was approved by the Board in February.
Also, early in the fall I began to urge the Board to prepare itself for a superintendent search. I supplied the names of consultants and also arranged for the Executive Director of the New York State School Board’s Association to provide a workshop that outlined responsibilities of the Board and the elements that must be contained in the search process.
Additionally, we were all encouraged by the Board’s commitment to contract with an external facilitator who would guide the Board in in their creation of a shared vision for the district. Unfortunately, this never came to fruition.
Circumstances over the last several months have complicated the transition process. Nevertheless, the Board still has responsibility to develop a unified vision and to select your next superintendent. This should be through deliberate processes that model inclusiveness and collaboration, as the District’s governance body.
In my remaining weeks I will be attending to many tasks. My intent is to work with the Board in assisting you with the transition and in your responsibility to identify a highly qualified superintendent for the Buffalo Public Schools. This can be accomplished by renewing your commitment to each other, the District and the community we serve.
Donald A. Ogilvie
Buffalo Public Schools