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Larry's Story

 

Larry is running for re-election as an at-Large Member on the Buffalo Board of Education. Larry currently serves as the Vice President of Student Achievement aiming to achieve greater proficiency for students in literacy and mathematics.  

 

Prior to serving on the board, Larry was a parent activist in the district and one of the founders of a parent group called the Buffalo Parent Teacher Organization (BPTO). Larry is a proud, involved father of two boys who attend Buffalo Public Schools and a baseball coach for the Hertel-North Park Youth Baseball & Softball League. He is a school psychologist in a neighboring school district, currently working with middle school youth.​

 

Prior to becoming a school psychologist, Larry worked for Erie County Child and Family Services at Connor’s Children’s Center, a residential home for children with severe emotional and behavioral needs. Larry's experience working here remains one of his most profound, personally and professionally, and determined  his career in public education and a mission to advocate for children.​

 

Larry's mother and father were raised on the West Side and attended Buffalo Public Schools. Larry's mother, a retired bank vice president, is a graduate of Lafayette High School and his father is a former manager of the Tops on Niagara Street.​ Larry has seen his parents as committed and determined leaders in their work, but always humble and understanding for the struggles of others; from his mother understanding a family crisis of an employee to his father still bagging groceries and pushing carts as the store manager. They led by example and have impressed these values upon Larry.​

 

Larry spent a great deal of his childhood with his late maternal grandparents, who immigrated to the United States from Italy. He was very close with his grandfather and has many great memories of his time with him. However, it was the experience as a young adult of just sitting and exchanging stories with him, that most affected Larry. This taught Larry the great power and healing in telling stories, sharing your struggles, and, having someone genuinely listen to your story, to your struggle. It instilled in Larry the value of listening and understanding others, relationships, and community.

 

​Achievements​

While on the board, Larry has introduced and passed twelve resolutions addressing a range of matters, including gun violence, bullying and harassment, safe passage of students to and from school, charter school accountability, and standardized assessments. As the Vice President of Student Achievement, he has worked hard with his board colleagues to improve how the board governs with a strategic focus on student outcomes. He has successfully advocated for an increased focus on staffing for reading and mental health. Under his leadership, Student Placement and Admissions has become more user-friendly and responsive with the adoption of an online application, increased communication to parents, and more timely placement determinations. Larry also led the change to a December 1st cut off for pre-k and kindergarten registration to align with other area school districts and state regulation.  

 

Larry's leadership during the COVID-19 crisis and its impact on schools gave voice to the many advocates, parents, teachers, and community members who joined together to prioritize student wellbeing and educational outcomes during an unprecedented time.  Toward the end of the pandemic, he successfully advocated for a restoration of in-person after school programming and partnerships with community-based organizations to address the various needs of our students and families. 

 

Since 2021, while Larry has served on the board, he and his colleagues approved labor contracts with 10 of the district's 11 collective bargaining units. Having all 11 collective bargaining units under contract is historic and Larry is most proud of the approval of the teacher's contract, last year, and renewal of long-expired contracts for teaching assistants/aides and building engineers.

 

​In Larry’s five years serving as a leader of the BPTO, much was achieved. The BPTO became active in several different district committees and decision-making bodies, and hosted 6 Family Nights at the Buffalo Zoo, 2 free Family Nights at the Museum of Science, and a Family Day at the Art Gallery.

 

In the fall of 2014, the BPTO rose up and pushed back, when a board member made a declaration to “disassemble” our public schools with four schools slated for closure or private takeover. Larry helped pack school board meetings, and rallied in the streets and cold snow, in a tremendous display of solidarity, democracy, and grassroots resistance. For several years, the BPTO took the lead among parents to push back against the racist and hateful behavior of a particular school board member. Larry helped organize phone calls and letter writing to the Commissioner of State Education, rallies and events, and filed, with NAACP Buffalo, an official appeal to the Commissioner for this board member’s removal.​

 

In the spring of 2017, with other parent leaders, Larry helped revise the BPS Parent, Family, & Community Involvement Policy, which officially recognized the BPTO as a district-wide parent group. Larry helped establish the Parent Congress, which includes representatives from all board recognized parent groups, who meet monthly with the Superintendent and serve on several decision-making bodies. He helped achieve a priority to establish a more open and inclusive policy, with opportunity for other parent groups to be recognized and included.​

 

Moving Buffalo Schools Forward, Together!

As an at-large board member, Larry has made it a high priority to represent all of our schools- from the East Side to the West Side, from North Buffalo to South Buffalo- all of our students, regardless of zip code, race, country of origin, disability, gender identity/orientation, religion, economic status, or primary language. Larry has made sure he understands the needs and challenges of our schools, students,  and families, by regularly visiting schools across the district. By the end of his first term, Larry expects to have visited every school building.

Larry fully understands that a board of education is established to govern, while the Superintendent manages and implements policy with staff. Along with governing, the board is responsible for establishing and approving a budget and hiring and evaluating the Superintendent. Lastly, and what Larry prides himself most as a board member, is representing the vision and values of the community and acting as a conduit between families, the community and the district. 

 

There is lots of work to be done to ensure that all of our students are provided equitable access to a quality education, one where students are thriving academically, as well as socially and emotionally. In his first term, Larry has proven he is the right leader for this task.  

 

Let’s continue to move Buffalo Schools forward, together!​

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