BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — As she has said, she’s new to the job, but not to the work.

Dr. Tonja Williams, who was officially named as the permanent superintendent of Buffalo Public Schools on July 14 after holding the position in an interim role since March, will soon enter her first full school year as superintendent this fall. She is tasked with running the second-largest public school district in New York State after replacing Kriner Cash, who resigned last March.

“We ended our school year pretty strong, I think,” Dr. Williams said. “We didn’t have any major incidents and at the same time we began to plan for the summer. What we did for the summer was we wanted to make our summer school program safe, secure and productive.”

She has said a major goal of hers has been transparency with parents, especially so in the wake of an attack at McKinley High School in February and the Tops Supermarket mass shooting on May 14. She said that hiring an outside firm for security has been discussed, but no official plans have been made yet. However, plans have been made to increase security in the public schools.

“What we have decided to do and we started last spring was to hire more school security officers so that if someone calls off or if someone is out, we can still ensure that coverage will still be in those schools,” Dr. Williams said.

She also noted that resource officers will not just be assigned to the high schools, but some will go to middle and elementary schools in order to develop relationships with students early in their educational careers.

School bus security has also become part of the plan. As a result, the school district held open interviews for bus aide positions at an event on Wednesday.

“That was something that we took very seriously right away. We’ve put in place different initiatives to try to entice staff members and community members to apply and become bus aides. We want a bus aide on every single bus, every single day. We’ve been having some very successful career fairs where we’re getting at least 200-300 people who are interested,” Dr. Williams said.

All in all, Dr. Williams has two main goals for the district for this upcoming year.

“The two priorities are making sure that all of our children and staff are safe and secure and well,” Dr. Williams said. “Number two is ensuring that they’re receiving an excellent education every single day in every single one of our schools.”

Aidan Joly joined the News 4 staff in 2022. He is a graduate of Canisius College. You can see more of his work here.