On August 24th, 2015, Buffalo Board of Education members unanimously voted to appoint Dr. Kriner Cash to serve as Superintendent of the Buffalo Public Schools. Superintendent Cash came to the Buffalo Public Schools at a pivotal time when the District had 25 schools in State Receivership, had seven superintendents in the last six years, and the last contract with the Buffalo Teachers Federation (BTF) was ratified in 1999. He acknowledged the complex issues faced by the District and offered, “Where there are great challenges, there are even greater opportunities.”
Since his arrival, Dr. Cash has aligned a diverse leadership team and launched the New Education Bargain with Students and Parents. Through the New Education Bargain, adopted by the Board in January of 2016, the District has instituted Rigorous Early Elementary Education with significantly reduced class sizes in the early grades; re-imagined ten New Innovative High Schools and programs; launched 21 thriving Community Schools; installed enriched After School programs in every school in the district; opened four full-service Parent Centers across the City; and, after 16 years, ratified a new contract with the BTF (Teachers Union) and the BCSA (Principals Union).
Under Dr. Cash’s leadership, the high school graduation rate is expected to climb above 70% for the first time ever in the high stakes accountability era; grades 3 - 8 proficiency rates in ELA & Math are rising fast from single digits five years ago; the number of schools in good standing has tripled from 14 to 46; and, the number of Receivership Schools has dwindled from 25 to 3. Dr. Cash also acknowledges that parents, students, and staff, working together, must find solutions to chronic student attendance and suspension rate challenges in the district. Meanwhile, the District is in its best financial condition in decades, with surpluses in three of the last four years, increasing fund balance to $224 million; and, Other Post-Employment Benefits Liability (Retiree Health Insurance or “OPEB”) has been reduced by over $500 million.
A lifelong change agent and advocate for an equal and high quality education for all children, Dr. Cash brings to Buffalo over 30 years of executive leadership experience in education. He has been responsible for improved outcomes for children as past superintendent in Memphis, Tennessee and Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts. He also served as Chief of Accountability and System-wide Performance for the Miami-Dade County Public Schools in Miami, Florida, where he and his staff designed and developed a leading-edge Human Capital Performance-Management System for the 4th largest school district in the country, contributing, in part, to M-DCPS winning the Broad Prize for Urban Education.
“I am a Children’s Rights Activist when it comes to the work of providing greater access, equity, quality, and opportunity for all children.” Dr. Cash said. He earned a Doctor of Education degree in Cultural Diversity and Curriculum Reform from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, a M.A. in Administration and Policy Analysis from Stanford University, and a B.A. in Political Science from Princeton University. Dr. Cash points to the importance of unleashing the genius in each child, and teaches administrators to set their own high expectations and goals for student achievement, to use data as a powerful tool for decision-making and policy, and to be passionate and reflective about their work.
Dr. Cash and his team are collaborating with parents, students, regional businesses, higher education institutions, civic organizations, health care partners, faith-based institutions, law enforcement, the local judiciary community and all levels of government to spur continued gains in student achievement. He recognizes the extraordinary recovery that is taking place in the City of Buffalo. “Buffalo is seeing a renaissance on the way to being fully restored as a City of Choice,” Dr. Cash said, “and the children that we educate now will fuel the human capital pipeline and economic growth for Buffalo well into the future.”
Dr. Cash holds membership in prestigious educational and civic organizations. He has earned numerous honors and awards from a wide variety of constituents and stakeholders and delivered keynote addresses all over the world. He was married to beloved wife, Lisa, for 34 years who passed away in September 2011. They have three fine sons - Kofi 42, Asil 41, and Jade 38; and four beautiful grandchildren, Tyson Wolf, 8 years old, Harper Lisa, 7 years old, Cameron Eagle, 6 years old, and Jozy Rider, 2 ½ years old. He and his wife, Gail, have been married for just over three years.
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Click to Watch - CONNECT:NY - The achievement gap in New York schools. Graduation rates are on the rise. So why do white students remain more likely to receive a high school diplomas than black or Hispanic students? State education commissioner Maryellen Elia and a panel of experts, including Superintendent Cash, weigh in.
Click to Watch-CONNECT:NY-Receivership of NYS Schools
This episode of Conversations That Matter To You, hosted by WCNY’s Susan Arbetter, provides a closer look at school receivership and what school superintendents are doing to turn around at risk schools.
Click to Watch-CONNECT:NY-Interview with School Superintendent Kriner Cash
Dr. Kriner Cash has been charged by New York State to turn around five persistently struggling BPS schools in receivership. The Superintendent spoke with Connect: NY about the job ahead and the challenge he faces.
Click here to view Dr. Cash's 100-Day Plan and Guiding Questions.