The Buffalo School Board voted Wednesday evening to name Donald Ogilvie interim superintendent.
BUFFALO, NY-The Buffalo School Board voted Wednesday evening to name Donald Ogilvie interim superintendent.
The school board never went into executive session as planned Wednesday afternoon to talk about hiring Ogilvie. Instead, they engaged in what became a very long and heated public debate.
Ogilvie, who recently served as Erie One BOCES superintendent, was approved by the board with five yes votes from the new majority: Larry Quinn, Carl Paladino, James Sampson, Jason McCarthy, and Patti Bowers-Pierce. Four board members abstained from the vote, and all said they felt left out of the process. They are: Dr. Barbara Seals-Nevergold, Sharon Belton-Cottman, Dr. Theresa Harris-Tigg,and Mary Ruth Kapsiak.
"This board would not agree to have everyone sitting at the table involved in the process so that we could all say what you just said is I have great confidence in Mr. Ogilvie. I can't say that. I haven't spoken to Mr. Ogilvie," said Board Member Dr. Barbara Seals Nevergold.
Members of the former majority of the board were very upset about how the new interim superintendent was vetted and chosen.
"It doesn't matter that we're human beings and we have been working for this district and these children. Again, it's just a total lack of respect that has been going on and now it seems to be continuing. It's escalating," said Board Member Mary Ruth Kapsiak.
"Just right here now today, at this table, you're starting with a minus. And so, that's gonna need some real work and some real effort," said Nevergold.
"Dr. Nevergold, point well taken, and I think you can count on me to work with all nine members of this board of education," said Ogilvie before the board voted to hire him.
After the vote, Ogilvie held a press conference.
"I'll take four abstentions rather than four no votes," said Ogilvie.
Ogilvie is expected to serve as interim superintendent until a permanent superintendent is hired. The board can terminate his contract without cause with 30 days written notice, and he can do the same.
Ogilvie says he looks forward to a time of healing for the board.
"We'll forge a good relationship. We'll make a difference. I'm gonna show up every day and get something done that will improve classroom practice, ultimately. I'm gonna come back the next day, and we'll string a bunch of days together, and we'll take it from there," says Ogilvie.
Ogilvie says he is not interested in the permanent superintendent position. He will make $217,500 a year as the permanent interim and will not receive benefits.
While superintendent of Erie One BOCES, Ogilvie served a buffer between district leaders in Buffalo and the state education department. He also was previously the superintendent of Hamburg Central Schools. He stressed to the new board that a strong school system is key to Buffalo's renaissance, and he wants to be part of that process.
Ogilvie will replace Will Keresztes, who took the interim post after Doctor Pamela Brown left the Buffalo School District a few weeks ago.