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New Buffalo School Board members sworn in at City Hall

Kyle S. Mackie/WBFO News

Members of the new Buffalo Board of Education were sworn in at City Hall on Monday. Sharon Belton-Cottman, who represents the city’s Ferry District, was also selected as the new board president.

Five of the nine school board members are incumbents, including Belton-Cottman, who is now the board's longest-serving member. They took their oaths of service alongside newcomers Terrance Heard, Dr. Ann Rivera and Larry Scott—at-large members—and Kathy Evans-Brown, East District representative.

“Being sworn in today is one of the highlights of my life,” said Heard, a former teacher and current employee at General Motors. “I believe that with the heart and my love for God, I think we’re going to make a difference [for] our kids and in our lives and in our community.”

Credit Kyle S. Mackie/WBFO News
Board newcomer Terrance Heard was sworn in among a crowd of friends and family members.

The Buffalo school board oversees Superintendent Kriner Cash and an educational system of more than 60 schools and 33,400 students. Belton-Cottman said she wants to see continued improvement of that system during her tenure.

“Success is what we have to do in this district,” she said. “The only thing that I fear is one more child leaving [the] Buffalo public schools or any school system in Western New York and not being properly prepared for the future.”

Belton-Cottman also said she’s confident the new board will work well together. She received near-unanimous support for the presidency, with the exception of board member Louis Petrucci, Park District representative, who nominated and voted for himself.

“First comes struggle, then comes ease,” Belton-Cottman said. “I worked hard for the past eight years to make this district the district that it is evolving into, and it’s rightfully that I deserve this seat. I earned it.”

Outgoing board president Dr. Barbara Seals Nevergold did not seek reelection, and she spoke to WBFO about that decision earlier this year.

Credit Kyle S. Mackie/WBFO News
Dr. Ann Rivera is the board's new vice president of student achievement.

Two other appointments were made Monday in the shake-up of the board’s leadership: Jennifer Mecozzi, West District representative, will serve as the new vice president of executive affairs, and newly-elected Dr. Rivera will serve as vice president of student achievement.

Kyle Mackie is a multimedia journalist with reporting experience in Israel and the Palestinian territories, the Western Balkans and New York City. She joined WBFO to cover education and more in June 2019.
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