As noted in today's story, Buffalo School Board President James Sampson sent an email out to the entire board on Sunday indicating the board majority's preference to name James Weimer as the next superintendent of Buffalo Public Schools and plans to begin assembling a new leadership team for the district. Below is his email to the board, as well as the response from minority bloc board member Barbara Nevergold:
From: "Sampson, James"
Date: Sunday, April 26, 2015 at 12:22 PM
To: Board Members, Ogilvie, Donald
There has been a lot of discussion at the board and in the community about the search for a new superintendent. Whereas many advocate for tapping into the talented resources that we have in the district, others advocate taking a step back and doing a national search. Both approaches have merit, but I believe with the crush of events and the need to create as many high performing seats and schools as possible, we should move quickly to look within the district for our next leadership team. We know that Don is leaving at the end of June, a number of high level staff have announced their interest in departing; like every year, a new school year begins in September and we have a number of looming projects that may well determine the future direction of the district.
I know this approach is not what is usually followed in districts, but as many of you have observed on many occasions, we have incredible talent in the district and many pockets of excellence. Most importantly our students and parents have a sense of urgency, an urgency that can not be met with a national search.
Since it ended up on the front page of the Buffalo News on two occasions, it is no secret that a number of board members are interested in potentially engaging Jim Weimer as our next superintendent. Many of you already know Jim and I have had the opportunity to get to know him over the past 18 months. Recently I have spent time with him and explored his thinking about how to lead the district, who he would see as key people becoming part of the leadership team, how to assemble the new team and integrate them with existing staff and most importantly how to focus like a laser on the day to day instruction that takes place in every building that is the critical ingredient advancing student performance.
As we move towards July 1st, I would encourage you to reach out to Jim. I know that he will also be reaching out to all board members and other stakeholders to talk about his vision for the future of the district. Thanks, Jim
James M. Sampson, West District Representative Buffalo Board of Education
From: Nevergold, Barbara A
Date: April 26, 2015 at 8:40:22 PM EDT
To: Sampson, James, Board Members, Ogilvie, Donald, Cabinet
So Jim by this email, you are informing us that the Board Majority has already made its selection of Mr. Weimer as Superintendent. You don't offer an opportunity for input, only the opportunity to participate in this sham, illegal "search" process. Surely you jest when you say that over the last 18 months you've had the opportunity to get to know Mr. Weimer and "explore his thinking about how to lead the district, who he would see as key people becoming part of the leadership team, how to assemble the new team and integrate them with existing staff and most importantly how to focus like a laser on the day to day instruction that takes place in every building that is the critical ingredient advancing student performance." Have you explored his experience, competency and actual ability to do the job? Outside of Emerson, what justifies his promotion to lead an organization with 34,000 students, 7,000 employees, 50 plus buildings, a divided Board, a skeptical community, an adversarial State Ed Department, a Governor that is looking to receivership, numerous unions, etc., etc., etc. Please do not presume to insult our intelligence and knowledge about this District; and the individuals that Mr. Weimer has in mind for his "team".
Nothing has changed. The Board majority does not plan to enter into an honest, open, transparent, equitable internal search, regardless of the "urgency" that you profess drives your actions. Let's be clear when Mr. Weimer can complete an interview questionnaire without the help of an Internet site, maybe he can talk about his plans on how to lead this District. What you are doing is unethical and reprehensible. You claim to have the best interests of the students and parents in mind but refuse to engage them in a conversation about what they think is in their best interest. That's paternalistic. This is not acceptable. If Mr. Weimer has any intention of reaching out to us and the community he needs to start now as he has a lot of reaching to do. Have him call me and let's set up a community meeting this week. Barbara
Barbara A. Seals Nevergold, PhD, At-Large Member, Buffalo Board of Education