Board of Education President Dr. Barbara Seals-Nevergold has gracefully managed a series of public relations crisis wrought by fellow board member Carl Paladino‘s deplorable political antics. In recent months she has asked State Education Commissioner Mary Ellen Elia to remove Paladino from the Board for chronically leaking information discussed during the Board’s executive sessions to media outlets for political purposes.
But political operatives think that it would be smarter politics for Nevergold to allow Paladino to remain on the board. They expect Paladino to continue making outrageous statements and further exhibit a troubling pattern of behavior. If that discourse frames the next school board election, it would lead to sweeping gains for the political bloc she leads. A Paladino defeat — on his home turf in South Buffalo — would send a powerful message.
If a moderate bloc is to remerge it will likely be lead by Larry Quinn, who is thought to understand how Paladino’s public performances have discredited an otherwise potent education reform movement. Quinn, some say, secretly lobbied Paladino to resign willfully early this year.
Amid the volatile political environment, Dr. Nevergold has stabilized the district’s governing board. She architected a landslide 2016 election win that ousted the well-known and well-liked former board members James Sampson and Jay McCarthy.
In a remarkably dissimilar reassumption of control of the board (she also served as President prior to the election of Paladino’s ‘reform bloc’), she has not sought to oust the Superintendent (as Paladino had done in order to more tightly control the central office and more aggressively advance his agenda). Many observers thought she should bring back former Superintendent Dr. Pamela Brown — which would send a powerful message to students and the community.
Nevergold has prioritized the prerogative of stability in allowing for the continued superintendency of Dr. Kriner Cash. In choosing stability over politics, she deserves applause.