Gellenia Smallwood

Gellenia Smallwood

Parent Center Director

Gellenia earned a Bachelors degree in communications from Canisius College, with a minor in women studies and child, family, and community studies, and a particular focus on education. She is a graduate of a Buffalo Public High School.

Gellenia brings with her a wealth of skills and knowledge she gained from her experiences in non-profit work, early-childhood education, foster care and adoption and student programing.

Prior to joining Say Yes Buffalo, Gellenia was a counselor with the Canisius College Academic Talent Search Program. As a counselor she provided college access programing, social and academic advisement to students in grades 6th-12th.

In her current role, Gellenia works along side the Say Yes Buffalo scholarship director to articulate the goals and mission for Say Yes to Education in Buffalo of increasing the number of Buffalo Public and Charter school students attending post-secondary education. As the scholarship coordinator some of Gellenia’s responsibilities include monitoring student academic progress, communication with SUNY/CUNY and private partner colleges, one on one college counseling and advisement to students and families, and supporting school based teams in creating a college going culture.

In her spare time, Gellenia enjoys working with young ladies and gentleman as an etiquette consultant. She has volunteered her time working with teen parents in transitional homes and as a coach for inner-city cheerleading teams.

Contact Gellenia at [email protected] or 716-247-5310 ext. 212.

Leadership Team

David Rust is the Chief Executive Officer and founding Executive Director.

Betsy Behrend is the Senior Director for Operations and Communications.

Dan Cross-Viola is the Director of Extended Learning and Quality Improvement.

Laura DeLuca is the Chief Financial Officer.

Collin Gehl is the Director of Human Resources.

Christopher J. Lee is Data Director serving in a joint position with Say Yes Buffalo and Buffalo Public Schools

Amanda Paul is Senior Director of School-Based Services. She can be reached at [email protected] and at 716-468-0043.

Tanya Staples is the Senior Director of Community Schools.

Our Team

Jennifer Ray is Internship & Career Pathways Program Assistant.

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