The Challenger would like to voice its support for former McKinley High School Principal Crystal Boling-Barton and we urge the community to join us in supporting her as well. Most recently she was the subject of a headline in the News which read, “School Board trying to Fire Boling-Barton,” and days later an editorial headline asked “What Took So Long?”
Mrs. Barton, an accomplished, focused administrator, was placed on paid administrative leave 2 1/2 years ago, after being at the helm at McKinley High for three decades. Although she has sought to return to her position throughout her “leave,” she has been unsuccessful. We agree with her legal representative that the district is now “grabbing for straws “ in bringing allegations of wrongdoing against her in an attempt to fire her. The media uses words like “polarizing” and a “lightening rod” to describe Mrs. Barton, and makes reference to past alleged “improper financial transactions.” However in a letter to the editor to the Challenger last spring, signed by concerned teachers and students at McKinley, a strong case was made in appealing to the Board of Education to return Mrs. Barton to the school. The district clearly has issues that need to be resolved, but they should not be done at the expense of trying to bring down a prominent, well respected member of this community who has given so much to our children. Instead of trying to fire her the School Board should return her to her rightful position at McKinley .
Mrs. Barton is an outstanding educator and a woman of tremendous accomplishments who deserves the respect and support of this community. Following is a brief look at the woman, her work and her accomplishments as documented by the Uncrowned Queens Institute (Dr. Barbara seals Nevergold and Dr. Peggy Brooks Bertram founders):
•The sixth daughter and eighth child of the late Floyd Sr. and Zorie Mosley Boling, Crystal Boling-Barton is a graduate of Niagara University, where she received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in English Education, a Master’s Degree in Educational Administration, a Master’s Degree in Counseling Education, a Post Master’s Professional Diploma in Counseling Education and a Certificate of Specialization in Minority Group Studies. She was also one of the first African American females to enlist in the ROTC at Niagara University and received an honorable discharge from the United States Army.
•A pioneer in education, she was appointed as Principal of McKinley in 1987, and is the first female to have been appointed as a Principal of a Career and Technical School in Buffalo Public Schools’ then one hundred and forty nine year history.
• She was a People To People International Ambassador to South Africa in 2003, which is a program established by the late President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1956 to promote friendship, cultural sharing and education throughout the world. Some other organizations she is a member of are: The Links, Incorporated, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, she is a life member of the National Council of Negro Women, Inc., a life member of the Association of Black Women Historians, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Past President and Vice President of the Black Pioneers of Niagara Falls, New York, member of the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Schomburg Center for Research and Black Culture, the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, the Afro American Historical Association of the Niagara Frontier Inc., and Past President and Vice President of the American Business Women’s Association, Frontier Chapter. She is also a member of Phi Delta Kappa, Pi Lambda Theta National Honor Society, National Association of Secondary Principals, Supervisors and Administrators of New York State, the National Association of the Advancement of Colored People and the American Institute of Parliamentarians.
•The contributions she has made to her community and individuals have been recognized through the many awards she has received throughout the years.
• Mrs. Barton extended McKinley’ High School’s 21st Century partnership with the Community Action Organization of Erie County, to include a McKinley-Buffalo Leadership Academy for male students to encourage and assist the students in planning for their futures and finding positive ways to accomplish their goals of entering college or the workforce after graduation. These partnerships helped to increase McKinley’s graduation rate to 84% in 2017, helping to return the school to “Good Standing” status, as it had been for most of over 30 years she was there.
•Since 2002, she led her school and the district in the preservation and teaching of African and African American History and other multi-cultural educational experiences. She and her staff brought speakers from around the country to McKinley and the community, to conference with students. Speakers such as: Ruby Bridges; Kenneth B. Morrison, great- great- grandson of Booker T. Washington and the great- great- great grandson of Frederick Douglass; the great -great-great nephew of Harriet Tubman, who lives in Buffalo; Dr. Maya Rockeymore; The Honorable Dorian Gadsen; Gail Deculus-Johnson, Sheila Evans-Tranum; representatives from the United Nations, and so many more.
•She is a leader in Culturally Responsive Teaching and Learning. McKinley High School, under her leadership, hosted the first, city-wide African American History Quiz Bowl for students and teachers; hosted the first African American History Pageant; hosted an Annual Legacy Luncheon so that the students would learn firsthand of WNY Legends; hosted a WNY Gospel Hall of Fame; hosted an Annual “Teachable Moment in African American History” and other activities focused on Multicultural and Diversity of the various ethnic groups in the school. She envisioned the establishment of an interactive Black Memorabilia Museum that students and the community could use in the years to come, and has been working hard to realize that dream via the conference exhibits held each year.
•Crystal Boling-Barton is the mother of three, grandmother of eight and great grandmother of two. She is the wife of retired principal, Robert Barton Sr.