BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — The vote is unanimous. The Buffalo School Board appoints Dr. Tonja Williams as the permanent superintendent of Buffalo Public Schools.
"I may be new to being superintendent, but I am not new to doing this work," said Williams.
There was strong support for Dr. Williams ahead of Thursday night's special session vote and the support shown tonight was no different. It was standing room only as community members, young and old, celebrated Williams' instillation. School board members say they are more than confident in Williams' ability to succeed in this position. Terrance Heard, Board Member At Large for Buffalo Public Schools said the fact that Williams is a Buffalo native sat well with both the Board and the community.
"We looked at what the options were," Heard said. "Nobody understands the district like Tonja Williams. She understands our children, she's from this community."
Williams attended PS 90, West Hertel Academy and Riverside High School. Williams said her devotion to education is due to a message her parents instilled in her at a young age.
"They really focused my sister and myself on education and on partnering with our schools," said Williams.
Partnership a large part of what Williams looks to do in her new position. Williams said her arms are open and asks the community to link with her as they "be a bridge over troubled waters."
Williams shares five core values she will be pushing as Superintendent:
- Welcoming district
- Equity focused/removing barriers
- Empowering and inspiring students and staff to thrive
- Instituting innovative methods to resolve issues
- Result and accountability driven
Williams said she is ready to implement these values as she, with the help of the Board and community, take Buffalo Public Schools to the top.
"I did not think I would be here," said Williams. "I did not. What I will say is that in every single job I have had along the way from my time as a mayor summer youth worker at 14-years old right through to today, I give my all. I give my best. Sometimes when you do that, you're not doing it to put on a performance or to show others. You're really doing it from the heart, but others will notice when you're doing the good work."
Dr. Williams served as interim superintendent of Buffalo Public Schools since March when former School Superintendent Dr. Kriner Cash resigned.