Bernard Tolbert, Buffalo's former FBI Chief becomes the second candidate who unsucessfully challenged Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown last year to announce a campaign for election to the Buffalo Board of Education.
Tolbert, a former security official for Coca-Cola and the National Basketball Association, announced his candidacy Thursday for one of the at-large seats open on the board in May. He unsucessfully challenged Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown in a Democratic primary
His entrance into the race comes a few weeks after Republican Sergio Rodriguez, who also challenged Brown in a race for mayor last year said he too would run for a school board seat. In the weeks since, incumbent board President Barbara Seals Nevergold also announced she would be seeking re-election
During the 2013 Mayoral race Tolbert & Rodriguez both often sparred with Mayor Brown over the need for reform of Buffalo Public schools, where the graduation rate hovers just above 50 percent, in a district where the NYS Education Dept. has mandated turnaround plans for 9 schools.
Dissident board member Carl Paladino - a frequent critic of Nevergold and School Supt. Pamela Brown - has pledged to find and support candidates who can help him unseat both. It wasn't immediately apparent whether he was assisting Rodriguez or Tolbert with a race
from the Tolbert Campaign, here's his announcement
|Buffalo, January 30, 2014---Bernie Tolbert, a Buffalo native and former executive for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the National Basketball Association (NBA) and Coca Cola today declared that he will seek one of the three at- large seats in the upcoming Buffalo School Board Election. Making the announcement in a video broadcast, Tolbert stated that his intent in running for school board is based on his educational background and corporate experience.
“Many Buffalonians know me from my recent campaign for Mayor, where education was one of my top priorities. What people may not know is that I was educated in Buffalo elementary schools and Lafayette High School and I worked as a teacher at Bennett High School. I also come from a family of educators, as my mother, my brother Herb, my son Eric, my daughter Nicole and several other family members are, or have been, educators. In addition, I have three decades of administrative experience with some of the most well-respected and accomplished companies and organizations in America. That combination of professional and personal experiences allows me to evaluate the issues and problems of Buffalo’s Schools from many sides, giving me a unique perspective in dealing with the issues and ways to solve the problems.”
Tolbert was joined in his announcement by four generations of his family, variously educated and connected with the Buffalo School System. While talking about the future of all Buffalo students, Tolbert detailed his three point Program of Progress focused on: school board policies of supporting the expectation that all students can attain high levels of achievement; training; support and rewards for effective teaching methods and results for all Buffalo school administrators and teachers; honest and continuous feedback and communication with parents concerning their children’s school performance levels and ways they can help their children succeed in the classroom.
“I realize that bringing change to Buffalo schools may seem like an overwhelming task at this point in time,” Tolbert said. “However, I know from my years of experience in top level organizations like Coca Cola and The FBI, and from my service as a Statler Foundation Trustee and related involvement in the Say Yes to Education Initiative, we can make change by working together in the creation of a purposeful plan of action, with measurable objectives and goals. That is why I believe that my professional and educational experience and my dedication to the children of this city make me a highly valuable candidate for the Buffalo’s School Board.”
Detailed information about Tolbert’s Program of Progress education plan can be found at www.bernietolbert.com