Erika Richardson, the new student rep on the School Board, seems likely to liven up the boardroom this year.
Boardrooms can be daunting places for newcomers. I've covered more than a dozen school districts for the News over the years, and very often, it takes new (adult) board members a year or so before they really get acclimated to their position and feel comfortable asking questions or sharing their thoughts.
She's already sat through a couple of board meetings, but she wasn't officially sworn in until Wednesday night.
Richardson wasted no time, though, in speaking up.
When it came to the part of the meeting where board members can talk about whatever's on their minds, Richardson said she did not have any comments, but she did have some questions.
And they were for Judy Elliott, the distinguished educator.
The student rep seemed to have no qualms asking Elliott the questions that countless adults in Buffalo seem to be wondering.
She cut to the chase.
Richardson: You are from out of town, correct? Florida?
Richardson: And you are here to help the Buffalo Public Schools do what exactly?
Elliott: I grew up in Western New York and I've been asked to come back to work with the Buffalo Public Schools to problem-solve areas that need to be looked at to accelerate student achievement.
Richardson: How do you plan to do that?
Elliott: It's a good question. It's not my role to do that. But it's my role to facilitate that. I will work with the superintendent to do that.
Earlier in the meeting, Elliott said she had already visited 23 of Buffalo's 28 "priority" schools (that's the new term for schools among the lowest 5 percent in the state) and plans to visit the remaining five next week.
She is scheduled to submit a district plan to the state education commissioner by Sept. 24.
- Mary Pasciakfacebook.com/mary.pasciak twitter.com/MaryPasciak firstname.lastname@example.org