Boys & Girls Clubs of America Names

Robert F. Lowery National Professional of the Year

               Robert F. Lowery

               Robert F. Lowery

Boys & Girls Clubs of America has named Robert Lowery the 2017 National Professional of the Year. Lowery, who currently serves as Chief Program Officer of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Buffalo (BGCB) had been named Northeast Professional of the Year in late 2016 prior to being named as the top professional nationally for the non-profit organization. As Northeast Professional of the Year, he was one of four Boys & Girls Clubs professionals chosen in distinct geographic locations. He accepted the award at a ceremony May 11, 2017 at Boys & Girls Clubs America National Conference held in Dallas, Texas.

Each year, the Boys & Girls Clubs of America awardsProfessional of the Year Awards in each of four distinct geographic areas including the Northeast, Southwest, Midwest and Pacific regions who have made significant contributions to the work of professionals within Boys & Girls Clubs while in their current position. The award is presented to a national member of Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s Professional Association who holds the title, duties and responsibilities of Assistant Executive Director, Director of Operations, Unit Director, or any Programmatic related full time staff member. 

Lowery, a 14-year veteran of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Buffalo, Lowery has served in a number of positions including as a Prevention Specialist and Director of Program Quality. He is a valued part of the BGCB team and has built a strong career track record of developing, implementing and overseeing programs that have a direct impact on youth and their ability to succeed. Lowery currently serves as the Trustee Chairmen of True Bethel Baptist Church. In addition, he is affiliated with the following community organizations Leadership Buffalo (Class of 2017), Resource Council of WNY, Emerging Philanthropists of Color, Say Yes Buffalo, and The President’s Committee Advisory Board at Buffalo State College.

The American Legion, Jesse Clipper Post No. 430, installed officers on April 26, marking what newly elected Commander Paulette Woods described as “a new generation in leadership.”

“The torch has passed to a new generation in the leadership of the Jesse Clipper Post#430 and with the guidance of our elders we will do even greater things to benefit veterans,” stated Elder Woods. “I am grateful for the confidence my fellow officers and veterans have placed in me as commander.” 

OFFICERS: Pictured 1st Row left/right; WWI Coordinator Papa Paul Woods, 3rd Vice Commander Kanasha Blue, Commander Elder Paulette Woods, Adjutant Annette Christian, Chaplain/1st Vice Commande

OFFICERS: Pictured 1st Row left/right; WWI Coordinator Papa Paul Woods, 3rd Vice Commander Kanasha Blue, Commander Elder Paulette Woods, Adjutant Annette Christian, Chaplain/1st Vice Commande

The installation was conducted byBishop Marion Richey, Pastor of the DAYSPRING Church of God of Prophecy. The newly installed officers include:  WWI Coordinator Papa Paul Woods, 3rd Vice Commander Kanasha Blue, Commander Elder Paulette Woods, Adjutant Annette Christian, Chaplain/1st Vice Commander Howard Patton; Past Commander Rev. Eugene L. Pierce, Finance Officer Frederick Eckles, 2nd Vice Commander Richard Hill, Sergeant-at-Arms Perry Civils, Immediate Past Commander Chaplain Henry W. Curtis III ; Service Officer Sam Feaster; Judge Advocate Felton Davis, Honor Guard Coordinator Samuel “Matt” Matthews; andHistorian George K. Arthur.

Jesse Clipper, a young Buffalo musician and private with the 317th Engineer Battalion, died Feb. 21, 1919. He is buried in Oise-Aisne, an American military cemetery in France.  

He was the first African-American soldier from Buffalo to die in the war . 

Clipper was one of nearly 380,000 African-Americans to fight in segregated units during World War I. Before he joined the service, Clipper was vice president of Local 533 of the American Federation of Musicians, which was founded in 1917. A year later its members formed a social club, the Colored Musicians Club.

Seven months after his death, 15 African-American veterans founded Jesse Clipper Post 430, American Legion. Today he is honored with a park and monument on Michigan and William Street and an American Legion post – all bearing his name.

For anyone who may suggest that Legislator Betty Jean Grant’s entry into the race for Mayor of the City of Buffalo makes her a “spoiler,”  her reply is simple.

In addition to her track record of being a people’s champion throughout her political career, in this 2017 election, there’s nothing to “spoil.” 

Grant officially tossed her hat into the ring this week. There is speculation among some that a Grant candidacy will hurt Mayor Brown’s re-election efforts by splitting the Black vote. Others feel that even if it does turn out that the other mayoral candidate, Mark J. F. Schroeder, benefits and emerges the winner in a three-way race, it will mark a change for the better in City Hall and for neighborhoods.

“The East of Main Street has been neglected long enough,” Grant said in a press release announcing her candidacy. “The lack of employment opportunities and rising crime are just some of the issues that must be addressed, and replaced with paid job training, revitalization of neighborhoods, infrastructure and economic development for all city-wide.”

For Grant the stakes are high. By running for mayor she will not be able to run for re-election to her seat in the County Legislature representing the 2nd District. So for her it’s all or nothing. Who will replace her? Two of the names currently rumored to seek her seat include youth activist Duncan Kirkwood and longtime community activist Charley Fisher.

The final inspiration and deciding factor to enter into the 2017 Mayoral race she said, was the blatant disregard of the public sentiment and outcry for the revitalization of the Central Terminal after the 17 member committee chaired by Mayor Brown selected the downtown site for Buffalo’s new train station. 

“That just pushed me to the point to say, ‘why not’? Why not give all communities an opportunity to be part of government? Why not run to be the Mayor to provide all with a fair, equitable and transparent government?”

-No Stranger ToGoliath-

Betty Jean Grant is no stranger to uphill battles. Her narrow loss in the 2012 State Senate primary against Tim Kennedy is proof that she is a force to be reckoned with.  Rather than allow that seat to be taken without a fight, she jumped in at the 11th hour and despite theKennedy campaign spending some $450,000, Grant spent $20,000 and lost by just 139 votes.

Betty Jean is aware of the challenge she’s facing in the upcoming election. However she says she is ready to give it her all to successfully champion every obstacle for her citywide supporters and volunteers already on board to assist her in the mission to represent, enhance and create the best for all of the City of Buffalo; a city where no community is forgotten!

“The need to build capacity and diversity into our teaching corps is immediate”-Dr. Cash 

Urban Teacher Academy Launched:

Designed to Encourage High School Students to

Pursue Teaching Profession

   Dr. Cash

   Dr. Cash

President Katherine Conway-Turner of SUNY Buffalo State and Superintendent Kriner Cash of Buffalo Public Schools on Monday announced plans for the new Urban Teacher Academy at McKinley High School.


The Urban Teacher Academy will accept its first cohort of students in fall 2017 at McKinley. Faculty members from Buffalo State and staff from the Buffalo Public Schools will develop the curricula for four college-level courses that will be taught as part of the academy. Academy students also will take part in activities at Buffalo State to help them prepare for college.

Students who successfully complete the four-year Urban Teacher Academy at McKinley will be accepted into Buffalo State’s teacher education programs with 12 credit hours already completed toward a bachelor’s degree.


“We look forward to collaborating with Buffalo Public Schools and McKinley High School on the Urban Teacher Academy,” said Conway-Turner. “Encouraging our local high school students to pursue the profession of teaching has the potential to benefit not just the Buffalo Public Schools but any school district with a diverse student body.”

“The need to build capacity and diversity into our teaching corps is immediate,” said Cash. “I am delighted that we now have a way to infuse cultural relevance in teaching by ‘growing our own’ teachers from our talented and diverse student population. Our students will begin their college classes while still in high school, the district will have a widely diverse talent pool of teachers, and future BPS students will benefit from having teachers who mirror their background and culture. In addition, I know that students in the Urban Teacher Academy will add rich cultural context to Buffalo State’s teacher education classrooms.”

SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher said, “This is a solution to two major issues impacting New York State—the teacher shortage in many of our urban schools, and college readiness of the students within those schools. We still see too many students go to college unprepared, if they attend at all. The partnership announced today will prepare our students for college and inspire them toward a teaching career so that they then inspire more future teachers. This complements our TeachNY efforts to lift the teaching profession, and I look forward to seeing the results.”

School districts across the country are struggling to recruit culturally, linguistically, and ethnically diverse teachers. To develop a more diverse pool of teachers, the Buffalo Public Schools has developed a comprehensive Career and Technical Education “grow your own” program, designed as an opportunity for students who imagine themselves as great teachers. Urban Teacher Academy graduates who earn a bachelor’s degree in education from Buffalo State will be encouraged to apply for positions within the district.

Kathy Wood, associate dean of the School of Education at Buffalo State and project coordinator for the Urban Teacher Academy, added, “We are pleased and grateful that McKinley High School has agreed to host the program. The academy provides a sustainable, purpose-driven program to provide students with teachers that better reflect the diversity of the BPS student body.”   

Theresa Harris-Tigg, a member of the Buffalo Public Schools Board of Education, vice president of student achievement for the board, and an assistant professor of English Education at Buffalo State, said, “As a college professor in English Education, former ELA classroom teacher, and current Board of Education member, Superintendent Cash and I have had many discussions regarding teacher preparation and diversity in teacher hiring. Dr. Kathy Wood and I have had similar conversations and opportunities to work together in future teacher clubs sponsored by Buffalo State. Thus, when Dr. Wood contacted me in early Fall 2016 to see if we could get this initiative moving, it was easy to talk with Dr. Cash about it. The green light was given to bring both entities together for further exploration regarding an Urban Teacher Academy. Dr. Cash assigned Dr. Will Keresztes as the district point person and many collaborative meetings between Buffalo State and Buffalo Public Schools staff persons ensued. I am excited to see this work come to fruition and McKinley High School, under the leadership of Mrs. Crystal Barton, is a great place to begin this academy. Dr. Katherine Conway-Turner and Dr. Kriner Cash will enhance teacher preparation and assistance in providing a more diverse candidate pool of teaching professionals in our region.” 

Crystal Barton, principal of McKinley High School, said, “A program of study such as this is a jewel in Buffalo Public School’s crowning opportunities of new and innovative programs of learning. How many times have we heard young children say, I want to be a teacher when I grow up?  By establishing the Urban Teacher Academy, in collaboration with Buffalo State, Buffalo Public Schools is creating another pathway of learning, which will allow our students to realize their childhood hopes and dreams of growing up and becoming teachers—in our school community no less.”