New York State School Boards Association

Sylvester Cleary - Caucus of Black School Board Members

Sylvester Cleary represents the state’s Caucus of Black School Board Members on the New York State School Boards Association Board of Directors.

NYSSBA provides advocacy, training and information to school boards in support of their mission to govern the state’s public schools. The NYSSBA board establishes policies to supervise, control and direct the business of the Association.

Cleary is president of the Chautauqua County School Board Association, President of the NYS Caucus of Black School Board Members, and member of the Forestville Central School Board and Erie 2 Chautauqua-Cattaraugus BOCES board. He is also on the Board of Directors for the Northern Chautauqua Community Foundation and on the relationship committee for the Cassadaga Job Corps.

A resident of Forestville for the past 40 years, Clearly attended the University at Buffalo in the field of Psychology. He served in the United States Marine Corps during the Vietnam War and was granted top secret clearance while stationed at the Headquarters of the Marine Corps and the Pentagon in Washington, DC. He is a retired banker, who served on the Board of Directors establishing the first national diversity program for Fleet Bank.

In addition, Cleary served as Vice President of the National Association of Urban Bankers, Notary Public, member of the Jamestown New York Rotary Club, Board member for the Chautauqua Home Rehabilitation Improvement Corp of Dunkirk, Leadership Counsel for the Southern Poverty Law Center, and a member of ASCAP (Authors, Songwriters, Composers, and Publishers) since 1972. He is an avid musician whose music has transcended generations with a recent album release in February 2019 entitled "Love Is the way."

Cleary obtained his Federal Communications license while working in the broadcast journalism field, and hosted a syndicated program using his voice as the NYS Lottery spokesperson.

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