Williamsville School Board appoints Darren Brown-Hall as new superintendent

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Posted at 11:36 AM, Apr 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-06 21:28:27-04

WILLIAMSVILLE, NY (WKBW) — A longtime leader in the Buffalo Public School District will soon be leaving city schools for the top job in one of Western New York’s largest suburban districts.

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Darren Brown-Hall at Buffalo City Hall.

Dr. Darren Brown-Hall, Chief of Staff for Buffalo Schools, has officially been appointed as superintendent of the Williamsville Central School District during a special board of education meeting Thursday evening.

Dr. Brown-Hall will begin his new role on July 1, 2021.

“We are pleased to announce that as a result of an open search process, under the leadership of District Superintendent for Erie 1 BOCES, Dr. Lynn Fusco, the Williamsville Board of Education has selected Dr. Darren Brown-Hall as our next Superintendent of Schools,” said Board of Education President Teresa Anne Leatherbarrow. “Dr. Brown-Hall’s experience and achievements in Buffalo Public Schools have prepared him to adeptly and effectively lead the Williamsville Central School District into the future. Community involvement and support was a critical component to the open search process. As a Board, we wish to thank all of the students, staff, parents, community leaders who participated in this process; both those who completed our district survey and those who gave of their time to serve on an advisory interview committee. After careful consideration of all feedback, and several rounds of interviews, we the Board of Education have made the decision that Dr. Brown-Hall is the right leader at the right time. Together, we will cohesively lead the District sharing a collective vision of supporting all learners to reach their full potential.”

“I am honored to join the Williamsville community as the next Superintendent of Schools. I look forward to working with the District team and the board to find the most effective and dynamic ways to adapt to the new normal that our students, families, teachers and district leaders face,” Dr. Brown-Hall said. “This is a time, especially in education, where collaborative, creative leadership will pay enormous dividends for our students going forward into a changed world.”

Brown-Hall has served as second-in-command for Buffalo schools for the past six years.

The Buffalo News, first to report on his selection last week, noted that if Brown-Hall assumes the position, he would become the first Black superintendent, and the first openly gay superintendent, in Erie and Niagara counties.

“I think he is a fabulous guy. He is all about the kids,” commented Sheri Scavone, executive director, WNY Women’s Foundation.

Sheri Scavone, executive director, WNY Women’s Foundation, reacting to word Dr. Brown-Hall is a final candidate.

Scavone also serves on the Gay and Lesbian Youth Services Board with Brown-Hall says he always does it right when it comes to the children.

“Anyone who, as a black, gay man, is willing to so out front about and set himself as an example for other kids — that are coming behind him — really speak volumes,” Scavone remarked.

The Williamsville district has been without a permanent superintendent for much of the academic year.

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Dr. John McKenna was named interim superintendent.

Last September, the board placed Scott Martzloff on leave for his mishandling of the district’s reopening plan during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Dr. John McKenna was named interim superintendent. Martzloff resigned in November. A report by an independent counsel to the board of education on the reopening of schools in the fall of 2020 said the crisis "demanded credible leadership, advance planning, and collaboration" and stated Martzloff chose to go at it alone.

According to the Williamsville district webpage, final interviews for superintendent candidates were held April 12-16.

Superintendent search from WCSD webpage.

Jonathan Rich, Williamsville parent of two children in the district reacting positively about the candidate.

Rich tells 7 Eyewitness News he was informed of the selection on Thursday and has heard that Brown-Hall is "well liked" and "could be effective" for change in the district.

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Jonathan Rich, Williamsville parent of two children in a Zoom interview.

"We were hoping for change. This is change and hopefully, it’s positive change," remarked Rich. “We want the culture of leadership in the district to really be healthier and to be more collaborative and to be — more transparent and treat parents as equals. He’s going to bring new ideas — a new face — and maybe some renewed energy to the district leadership.”

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Dr. Darren Brown-Hall, chief of staff, BPS.

Brown-Hall was named chief of staff in the city schools six years ago when Superintendent Dr. Kriner Cash took over.

Prior to that, he served as an associate superintendent for human resources. In 2015, he also served as interim superintendent.

Brown-Hall began his education career as a school teacher in the Sweet Home Central School District. He later served as assistant principal at South Park High School.