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Education Features

Joan D. Thomas appointed interim Catholic School Superintendent


The Diocese of Buffalo is proud to announce the appointment of Joan D. Thomas as Catholic Schools interim superintendent. Thomas is 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.

When asked about her new role Thomas said, “I am very excited and honored to become the interim superintendent of the area’s Catholic Schools. With a rich history of top quality education, we cannot forget about our past, but I feel it is important to restructure Catholic education for the future. With the input of principles and parents we can provide a model that is viable and sustainable for our children to have the best education possible, now and for generations to come.”

Beginning immediately, 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.

The Diocese of Buffalo has appointed Joan D. Thomas as Interim School Superintendent. Dan Cappellazzo/Staff Photographer

“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.”

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 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.