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News and Speeches

Chancellor Walcott Appoints Andrew Buher Chief Operating Officer and Marc Sternberg Senior Deputy Chancellor for Strategy and Policy


Veronica Conforme, Current Chief Operating Officer, to Join the College Board

Schools Chancellor Dennis M. Walcott today announced the departure of Veronica Conforme, the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of the Department of Education, who is leaving to become Vice President, Access to Rigor Campaign, at the College Board. Conforme joined the Department of Education in 2003 and has served as COO since December 2011.

Chancellor Walcott also announced the appointments of Andrew Buher as COO and Marc Sternberg as Senior Deputy Chancellor for Strategy and Policy. Buher currently serves as Chief of Staff to the Chancellor and Sternberg has served as Deputy Chancellor of Portfolio Planning.

“Veronica Conforme has been a key leader in developing policy and driving the implementation of nearly every major reform the Department has undertaken over the course of the last 10 years,” said Chancellor Walcott. “I will miss her passion for this work, her deep commitment to ensuring every student has access to a great school, and her capacity to build relationships with our school communities.  Our loss is truly the College Board’s gain and I am proud that Veronica will continue to be a national leader on issues of equity and access to college for all students.”

Prior to serving as COO, Conforme served as Chief Financial Officer. She was also Deputy Chief Schools Officer, overseeing day-to-day support to the district’s 1,700 schools.

“Working with the Mayor and the Chancellor to ensure that every student has access to a high-quality school has been an honor and privilege,” said Conforme. “I am extremely proud of what we have achieved, from the creation of 656 new schools to the nearly 40 percent increase in high school graduation rates. The impact of the Mayor’s reforms will carry on for decades to come.”

Buher served as Conforme’s Chief of Staff prior to serving as Chief of Staff to the Chancellor. He began his career at the Department in the Division of School Support. He oversaw the rollout of 1,700 school budgets, led the work associated with school openings and managed key human resource-related issues. Prior to joining the DOE, Buher worked with KIPP and the Equity Project Charter School in Washington Heights. He has also served as a policy advisor in the Office of the Governor of New Jersey.

Buher received his bachelor’s degree in political science from Rider University and his master’s degree in public policy and administration from Columbia University.

In addition to managing key operational processes, Buher will be responsible for the Division of Finance, the Division of Instructional Information and Technology and the Office of Family and Community Engagement.

“Andrew’s experience managing key operations, his deep knowledge of the system, and his commitment to driving solutions that work for students make him the ideal person to serve as our Chief Operating Officer,” said Chancellor Walcott.  “He is an effective leader who has a special ability to not just get our hardest work done, but to get it done well. I look forward to working together during this incredibly important moment in the history of the New York City public schools.”

“I am excited and honored by this opportunity,” Buher said. “I want to thank Chancellor Walcott and Mayor Bloomberg, who have allowed me to be a part of their extraordinary efforts to transform New York City’s school system.”

Sternberg has dedicated his career to serving New York City public school students.  Prior to serving as Deputy Chancellor for Portfolio Planning, he taught in the Bronx and later founded and served as principal of the Bronx Lab School, a new small school that opened in 2004 on the Evander Childs campus.  He also served as a White House fellow in the office of Education Secretary Arne Duncan.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in politics from Princeton University, and two master's degrees from Harvard University - in business administration and in education.

“Marc is a talented and versatile leader who brings an important school perspective to the work,” said Chancellor Walcott. “His expanded role will help to maintain our focus on improving student outcomes. I will rely on his experience as a proven reformer as we continue our efforts to improve the service we provide to New York City’s students.”

In addition to his continued oversight of portfolio, enrollment, and pre-kindergarten programming, Sternberg will serve as senior advisor to the Chancellor on the agency’s policy and strategy agenda moving forward.  He will serve as the liaison on intra-agency coordination and communication.

Mr. Sternberg said, “Nearly a decade ago I started a new small high school in the Bronx because I fundamentally believed in Mayor Bloomberg’s vision that every student in NYC deserved access to a high-quality school. Today I am prouder than ever of the unprecedented gains our students have made and I look forward to leading and sustaining the progress in my new role as Senior Deputy Chancellor.”