Interim Superintendent’s Message:
I am deeply appreciative and honored to serve as your Interim Superintendent! This is a role that I take very seriously. It is not business as usual, rather this work is very personal for me. It is my goal to ensure that we expand and cultivate new opportunities which will benefit all students and staff and will then lead to enhanced school safety and wellness, and improved academic achievement.
A necessary process in beginning this work will be the creation of an inclusive, well-informed plan, which will allow me the opportunity to immediately begin: LOOKING, LISTENING, and LEARNING from our staff, community partners, stakeholders, parents, and students. While the daily operations of the job will require that I make necessary decisions which will support moving the organization forward, I know that at the same time I will be conducting listening tours for the next several weeks, and that the information obtained during the tours will allow me to lead in the creation of a plan that is inclusive of all voices and which speaks to the Mission of this district.
On a personal note, I am a proud native of the City of Buffalo. Growing up on the East side of the city, I attended and graduated from Buffalo Public Schools: #90, West Hertel Academy, and Riverside High School.
My parents were my first teachers. The value of education was instilled into my sister and I at a young age. My parents met at East High School and supported our family as blue-collar servants working long hours at the U.S. Postal Service and Bethlehem Steel. As the oldest child in my family, I was a “First-Generation” college student, who relied on educators to help me navigate all college application processes. In the true American Way, my parents, of course, wanted better opportunities for their children than they were afforded.
Attending college, beginning at S.U.N.Y. Fredonia and then finishing at Medaille College helped me to free myself from the cultural and economic barriers that continue to exist for many of our families. It changed the educational trajectory of expectations in my family for generations. Higher education has become the norm in my family. I have two daughters, one is a School Psychologist and an Author, and the other is a Senior Instrument Pricing Agreement Representative and a rising Entrepreneur of an online business.
I believe that every child must have the opportunity to dream, explore, and be prepared to pursue whatever they want to become in life. Providing our children with access to a high quality education and caring adults has the likelihood to produce life-changing outcomes! It is my expectation that the Buffalo Public Schools will continue to earn your trust and support.
Finally, “THANK YOU” for allowing me the opportunity to serve the students, families, and staff of this great district. Together, with ONE VOICE and on ONE MISSION, we will ensure that every school campus is a safe, nurturing, and inspiring place where children can learn and thrive. A district where every single child in every single school will encounter caring professional adults who inspire their learning, regardless of the child’s race, socio-economic status, religious affiliation, first language, and/ or zip code!!
Dr. Tonja M. WilliamsInterim Superintendent of the Buffalo City School District712 City Hall65 Niagara Square
Buffalo, NY 14202