BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – At a special meeting Wednesday night, the Buffalo School District Board of Education voted unanimously to fire two administrators who lacked credentials for their positions.
Yamilette Williams and Faith Alexander both worked in the Central Office and were placed on unpaid leave after it was discovered they lacked proper qualifications in New York State for their positions.
Board President Dr. Barbara Seals-Nevergold said, “[With] the lack of certification, full certification, that would not allow them to perform all of the duties in their prospective jobs, it was going to be difficult for us to sustain their employment.”
News 4 learned that both women enrolled in a SUNY Oswego program in January to earn their credentials at an expense of $13,000 to taxpayers. And on Monday, it was announced the State Education Department had granted both “intern” certification, opening the potential the board could move to keep their positions.
However, at a meeting on Wednesday, the board moved to fire both women after more than an hour of discussions in executive session. The women will receive no severance pay.
“I’m not surprised. I don’t think the board had much of a choice. They have to abide by the law, and the law says you have to be certificated in the State of New York, and they were not certificated,” said Board Member Carl Paladino.
Superintendent Dr. Pamela Brown said she was unaware they lacked the necessary certification when she hired them both last summer, but defended their appointments, saying both were the most qualified for the job and had out-of-state certification that is not accepted in New York.
“At the time that they were hired, it was my understanding that whatever they needed to have, in order to take those positions, that they had it. And it did not come to my attention that they did not have the appropriate certification until just recently,” Supt. Brown said.
Williams’ and Alexander’s cases are prompting the district to re-examine its HR and hiring practices.
Seals-Nevergold said, “Obviously there’s a need to review some of the procedures.”
Even though Williams and Alexander working in their positions was a violation of state education law, Seals-Nevergold says she does not expect they will be ordered to give back their pay, nor face any punitive action.