BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Classes may have started last week, but Wednesday marked a first day of sorts in the Buffalo School District. Catherine Flanagan-Priore officially took over the Park District school board seat following last month's removal of Carl Paladino.
"I hope to bring a fresh perspective to the board and just, truthfully, to work to meet the needs of the children in this community," Flanagan-Priore said.
Flanagan-Priore is a pediatric psychologist at Women & Children's Hospital. She works with children and families dealing with pediatric cancer or non-malignant blood disorders.
It was a conversation with her husband that she says led her to go after her new seat.
"He said, 'I feel like the school board needs you. I feel like these children need you, and I feel like you have something to offer that these other people don't necessarily have to offer,'" she said.
Fourteen candidates were up for the position. Board President Barbara Seals Nevergold says what made Flanagan-Priore stand out was her poise, the fact that she works with vulnerable children and that she had a basic, foundational knowledge of the district.
Former Park District representative Carl Paladino frequently butted heads with fellow members and came under fire for racially-charged remarks about Barack and Michelle Obama. Still, voters twice elected him, and Flanagan-Priore says she wants to be a voice for them, too.
"I want to hear from the people who voted for him as much as the people who didn't vote for him to make sure I'm representing the needs of the district well," she said.