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Finally, Skype -- and then there were two

The board this weekend interviewed four consultants interested in finding Buffalo's next superintendent.

Two noteworthy developments arose from that meeting.

First, two of the firms -- PROACT Search and Hazard, Young, Attea and Associates (both out of Illinois) -- interviewed remotely, via Skype, I'm told. (I wasn't able to be there, unfortunately, but have talked to some of the people who were.)

I can remember more than one board meeting in the past couple of years when someone suggested that a board member or someone else in another city join the proceedings via Skype -- only to be told that the district's technical crew couldn't make that happen.

That news, of course, always spurred a flurry of outraged emails into my inbox, with readers offering up their own services or that of their teenage kids to help the district get a Skype connection set up.

Well, no more, it seems.

Now that the precedent has been set, it seems that the board will never again be able to rule out giving full access to a meeting to folks who are out of town.

So that's the first major news item out of Saturday's board meeting.

The second: the board, by consensus, narrowed the list of search firms to two: Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates, and Say Yes to Education in collaboration with Cascade Consulting.

Which of those firms will get the contract?

More on this in the next couple of days.

- Mary Pasciak

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About School Zone

Denise Jewell Gee

Denise Jewell Gee

Denise Jewell Gee joined The Buffalo News in 2007 and currently covers education and suburban schools. She also writes a column for the City & Region section and previously covered government in Erie County and Niagara Falls. Gee graduated from Boston University with degrees in journalism and political science.

@denisejewellgee |

Tiffany Lankes

Tiffany Lankes

Tiffany Lankes joined The Buffalo News in 2013 and primarily covers the Buffalo Public Schools. She has written about education since 2003 at newspapers in Florida and New York. In 2008, she was a nominated finalist for The Pulitzer Prize. Lankes is an Amherst native and graduate of Sacred Heart Academy and Syracuse University. She started her journalism career writing for the News’ NeXt section.

@TiffanyLankes |

Sandra Tan

Sandra Tan

Sandra Tan has been a cityside reporter for The Buffalo News since 2000 and currently covers the Buffalo Public Schools beat. She previously covered the Williamsville school district and was a full-time education reporter for five years prior to joining The News. She graduated from the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism.

@BNschoolzone |

Deidre Williams

Deidre Williams

Deidre Williams began working for The Buffalo News in 1999 and currently covers Buffalo Public Schools. She formerly was a suburban reporter on the Northtowns beat and has been a cityside reporter covering communities since 2004. Williams has a mass communications degree from Towson University.

@DeidreWilliamsB |