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Changes in the Buffalo school district's reading department

Some concerned reading teachers have recently written us about changes happening in the Buffalo school district’s Reading Department and asked if The News could look into it. They asked who’s in charge of the district’s reading program now that the current supervisor of reading has been reassigned as assistant principal of Lorraine Academy.

"There has been no directive from Dr. Brown as to who is in charge of elementary reading," said one teacher. "How can we no longer have a Department of Reading? Reading teachers and instructional coaches are all very confused."

According to district spokeswoman Elena Cala, who also consulted with Chief of Talent Management Darren Brown, the district's Reading Department has been restructured, but hasn't gone away. She said the district's supervisor of reading, Sharon McCormick, has been temporarily assigned as an assistant principal at Lorraine Academy but will not lose her old job. Her title has been changed from "supervisor" to "instructional specialist - reading" but she'll keep her same job responsibilities after her temporary assignment is completed, Cala said.

As far as who is currently "in charge" while McCormick is serving as assistant principal elsewhere, Cala didn't name any one person. Instead, she referred to a literacy team at the central office and building level that comprises a "collective group of directors, instructional coaches, reading teachers, principals and assistant principals." The literacy team also includes the director of English language arts, Julie Romain, who is K - 12 certified (though teachers say she has more of a high school background), and Kathie Fennie, supervisor of early childhood curriculum, assessment, and Instruction.

Don't know how much that clarifies matters, but that's what we know.

-- Sandra Tan

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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 | djgee@buffnews.com


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 | tlankes@buffnews.com


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 | stan@buffnews.com


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 | dswilliams@buffnews.com

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