BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Two Buffalo school employees who lack proper certifications were placed on administrative leave Thursday morning.
School board member Carl Paladino submitted a resolution at Wednesday night’s board meeting to put Yamilette Williams, who is chief of curriculum, assessment and instruction, and Faith Morrison Alexander, one of the district’s chief of school leaderships, on leave. Paladino says the board’s attorney agreed with his concerns that a lack of certifications could leave the district open to legal challenges.
According to the State Education Department, both Alexander and Williams hold a conditional initial certificate as a school building leader. Williams applied to be a school district leader, but officials say the application is incomplete. According to officials, Alexander has not applied.
The Buffalo News was the first to report that these two employees lack proper certifications. The newspaper says both were hired from out of state by Superintendent Pamela Brown when Deputy Superintendent Mary Guinn was reorganizing the central office. According to the Buffalo News, Guinn, Alexander and Williams all once worked as consultants for Evans Newtown educational firm.
Guinn has been a center of controversy. While working as a consultant for Buffalo schools, board members terminated her contract, which paid her $289,000 in salary and other benefits. Then in a controversial move, she was hired as deputy superintendent in a 5-to-3 vote after Brown urged the board to bring her back at a salary of $175,000 a year.
State Education Department officials say the district is responsible for certifications of their employees. Spokesman Tom Dunn added, “Absent the appropriate certification for the position held and the associated responsibilities, in this case a central office administrator, a district necessarily incurs liability in such situations due to the programmatic, evaluative and fiscal decisions being made on a daily basis.”
Superintendent Brown released a statement Thursday night saying that she determined it was in the district’s best interest to place both Alexander and Williams on leave. However, she added, “This is not to be interpreted as a disciplinary action. It is an appropriate action for a school district to take in a situation such as this.”