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More outsiders coming in to lead Buffalo schools

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There are a lot of new faces in charges of Buffalo Public Schools  this year, some of them having come from out of town. Every year, there are new principals and this year there are 13 of them, three from other areas.  Federal and state laws force out principals when their schools don't improve academically and that means some city principals have been benched to City Hall offices.

That is why Kevin Eberle was immediately available as principal on very short notice when the city recently took over the failed Pinnacle Charter School.

Schools Superintendent Pamela Brown says those laws also can lead to wide searches for principals.

"One of the reasons that we hired principals from outside of the city is that six of our schools were going through the turnaround process as mandated by federal and state law. In that process, we had to do a national search for principals or administrators who had had experience working in schools that had gone through turnaround situations," Brown told WBFO News.

School Board Member Carl Paladino has been vocal in criticizing the process, saying city teachers have spent years working up toward the principal's office only to see outsiders brought in.

Brown says she has to deal with not only a need for a principal who can provide instructional leadership, but also meet the needs of a school where languages other than English are dominant.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.