Friday, February 28, 2014

Buffalo School District, Mary Guinn

Buffalo's deputy superintendent position vacant since Folasade Oladale resigned in 2011.

Mary E. Guinn hired as interim deputy superintendent of Buffalo schools to June 2013.

Not directly employed by the district, her salary paid from $550,000 donation raised by:
-Cross & Joftus education consulting firm located in Danville, CA
-grant money from Say Yes to Education
-John R Oishei Foundation 
-Foundation for Greater Buffalo.

Guinn hired by the district as a consultant.
The school district agrees to pay her $290,359 plus expenses for traveling and lodging through June 2014. 

HealthNow's CEO Alfonso O'Neil-White volunteers his company to help with search for deputy superintendent position, agreeing to work with Guinn for six months.

HealthNow, not being supported by the district, presents three potential candidates and ends its efforts.

Guinn's work with the district raises questions among board members - taking too much authority as consultant: signing off on payroll documents, directing employees, presiding over meetings.

Summer 2013
Guinn, spearheading the district's central office reorganization, recruits and hires Yamilette Williams as chief of curriculum, assessment and instruction and Faith Morrison Alexander as a district chief of school leadership with salaries of $130,000 and $135,000 respectively. 

Guinn, Williams, and Alexander (all from out of state) are all connected to the Arizona-based Evans Newton educational firm from which all three worked as consultants.

Neither Williams nor Alexander have the required state certification to hold their jobs.

Williams and Alexander oversee numerous education proposals, contracts, and employee evaluations (without having technical authority to do so).

Buffalo district spends $12,997 in local leadership grant money to cover tuition costs for Williams and Alexander to attend the accelerated superintendent development program through Greater Southern Tier BOCES. *

Cross & Joftus asked to cancel its $432,000 year-long contract with the Buffalo school district amid questions about Guinn's role and responsibilities.

Consulting firm president Scott Joftus said the search for a deputy superintendent was conducted by an interview team that included representatives from HealthNow, the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo, the district’s human resources director and chief financial officer, and the superintendent Pamela Brown.  Guinn was also on the interview committee, but as a nonvoting member.

Guinn applies to the state education department for administration credentials needed to fill the position of deputy superintendent.

Superintendent Brown denies that she plans to re-hire Guinn.

Guinn is appointed to the position of deputy superintendent until June 30,2014 at an annual salary of $175,000. ($58,333 for four months if she lasts until June 30.)

Brown claims that HealthNow led the initial search to fill Guinn's spot.
HealthNow's director of corporate relations Julie Snyder denies this.

Brown says the district received 35 applications and conducted phone interviews but, she claims, candidates did not want to come to Buffalo because of the political climate.


Mary E. Guinn

-1977 to 1981 speech and language development specialist at a Head Start program in Arkansas

-1981 to 1984 speech pathologist in Little Rock school district

-1984 to 1985 principal of an elementary school in Little Rock

-1985 to 1998 held a number of administrative positions in various districts in Louisiana

-1998 to 2004 superintendent in Gary, Ind., a district about half the size of Buffalo
--citing decline in test scores, board voted not to renew her contract

-2004 to 2009 deputy superintendent in Tulsa, Okla., a district about the size of Buffalo
--lost her job in a restructuring
---private donors provided the $188,000 to buyout her contract

-2009 to 2012 a “deputy superintendent/consultant” in Falcon, Colo.
---news reports from February 2011 indicate that she was in line to become the district’s chief education officer, but she irked school board members by asking for a raise for taking a job that would have involved fewer responsibilities

-July 2011 to June 2012 head of a charter school in New Orleans.
--news report published on March 29, 2012, indicated she had resigned. Her boss in the charter school network told a reporter at the time that he and the charter school board had doubts about the school’s goals under Guinn’s leadership

-July 2012 to 2013 an educational consultant for Evans Newton Inc. in Scottsdale, AZ. 
--she works with number of administrators who eventually come to Buffalo

-2013 senior associate at Cross and Joftus

Guinn holds a bachelor’s in speech pathology and psychology from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock; a master’s in special education from the University of Central Arkansas; and a doctorate in educational administration from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

* The Buffalo News 3/22/2014