The Diocese of Buffalo has appointed Joan D. Thomas as Interim School Superintendent, an education professional with nearly five decades of experience as an educator, principal and interim superintendent and superintendent for two school districts in Western New York. Beginning immediately, Ms. Thomas will be working closely with outgoing Superintendent, Dr. Michael LaFever, who announced his retirement last month and effective in October, to ensure a smooth transition of responsibilities, particularly in light of the implications of the ongoing novel coronavirus threat for the new academic year.
"We are delighted that Joan has agreed to assume the role of Interim School Superintendent at this critical time and to lend her considerable experience as an educator and administrator to advancing our mission of providing quality education for the young people of Western New York," said Sister Mary McCarrick, Chief Operating Officer of the Diocese of Buffalo. "Joan has dedicated her life's work to educating our youth and has an unrivaled reputation among other educators, state and regional education officials, students and families for working collaboratively to achieve the highest education standards, while identifying innovative solutions that meet the needs of school districts faced with financial constraints."
Throughout her extensive career in education, Ms. Thomas has served as a teacher, assistant principal, principal, an adjunct professor at Canisius College where she taught Educational Leadership, as well as an interim superintendent and superintendent for two school districts. Ms. Thomas has extensive experience in developing and implementing school budgets, negotiating teacher contracts, developing and overseeing major capital improvement projects, and working successfully with teachers, administrators, parents, school boards and many other regional stakeholders. She also has a strong track record for creatively implementing guidelines and initiatives of the Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR) and New York State Board of Regents. Her reputation for innovation (especially when having to deal with constrained budgets), and pursuit of education excellence have resulted in several notable honors including the Erie Niagara School Superintendents Association Award for Leadership and the Western New York Educational Service Council Award for Excellence, among others.