Supt. defends suspended administrators in statement

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Two high-level employees in the Buffalo School District are on unpaid leave because they’re not certified to do their jobs in New York State.

Yamilette Williams and Dr. Faith Morrison Alexander are on unpaid leave. Both administrators were earning a six-figure salary, but Buffalo school board member Carl Paladino says that will no longer be the case. He calls their unpaid leave “all semantics” because their contracts are already null and void.

Alexander and Williams were hired last summer as part of the superintendent’s central office reorganization. During Wednesday’s School board meeting, Paladino voiced concerns about their credentials and the state education department confirmed they are not district-level certified.

“They were put on administrative leave until it was confirmed with the state that they actually don’t have licenses. Once we’ve confirmed that, which was yesterday afternoon, they are discharged. Their contracts are discharged. Their contracts are null and void. But that will be confirmed at the next board meeting,” Paladino said.

A spokesman for the state education department says both women are certified to be a principal, but Williams hasn’t completed her district leader application and Alexander hasn’t applied for it.

For district level certification applicants, the state requires applicants to complete a state exam, 60 credit hours of graduate study, and three years of teaching or administrative experience.

Paladino says they didn’t take the exam and that they don’t have the academic course work to meet the state requirements. He claims they were going to use Dewitt Wallace leadership courses as a means fulfill them.

But the glaring question is why would the district hire someone who didn’t have the certification.

“There’s a thing called the friends and family club. These are Mary Guinn’s co-conspirators,” Paladino said.

But Superintendent Pamela Brown defended both women, saying, “Each of these candidates emerged as being best qualified for the positions they were hired to fulfill. Each holds a doctorate degree in education and has extensive field experience. Each candidate has administration certification in another state. They were hired on the basis of their merits and regardless of any other affiliations.”

The Buffalo News reports both Williams and Alexander worked with Dr. Mary Guinn, the newly hired deputy superintendent, at a consulting firm and were hired to the central office at the time Guinn was working to reorganize it.

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