It was an historic occasion as the Buffalo Board of Education interviewed in public the consultants selected to conduct its superintendent search through the RFP it issued October 2011. In an effort to be transparent and to involve the community in the superintendent search process the Buffalo Board of Education conducted the interviews in public in the board room in City Hall where it usually meets for its meetings.
There were few if any from the public present at this historic event except for three and only this blogger stayed until the end when it concluded the interviews at 2 PM.
The consultants were Vincent Coppola from SUNY Buffalo , followed by Proact, Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates and Cascade Consulting.
Dr. Copppola is associated with the Western New York Educational Services Council office located at SUNY Buffalo and Cascade Consulting with Say Yes.
Rosalyn Taylor, East District served as a moderator for the group asked the opening questions: How to involve the community and stakeholders in the superintendent search? What steps taken to keep board informed of process? Confidentiality, open or closed, what works?
And Ruth Kapsiak, Central district asked Hazard, Young...how many of its searches involved urban school districts? The response was they have done 200 searches out of 1000 or more.
Florence Johnson, at-large asked what team was working with Buffalo district?
Dr. Coppola and Cascade Consulting presented in person, while the other two through Skype. Cascade Consultants is collaborating in the search with the organization Say Yes that will be working with the Buffalo Schools similar to the Syracuse City School District. The group did an excellent presentation the best, but there were questions regarding Cascade's association to Say Yes. Cascade asked the board to pay its consulting fees and Say Yes to pay for the other expenses involving the superintendent search. There were questions from three board members, Ralph Hernandez, West District, Lou Petrucci, Park District and newly appointed Dr. Barbara Seals Nevergold about the relationship of Cascade to the Say Yes group soon to be involved with the Buffalo Schools.
In a school district with 75% minority children, the consulting groups were not as diverse except for the Cascade group that had an African-American psychologist.
The other question was the one concerning the internal candidate whether interim Superintendent Amber Dixon announcement in the media of her interest in the post made it more challenging to interview prospective external candidates.