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Tanya Staples

Tanya Staples

Community Schools Director

Tanya Staples is the Senior Director of Community Schools.

Mrs. Staples received her B.S. from Syracuse University and her M.S. Ed. from Canisius College. She started her career as a fourth-grade teacher at St. Columba School, then as a counselor for Transitional Services. Later, she worked with the employment and training division within the Clarkson Center (formerly Allentown Youth Services).

Mrs. Staples is the former Chief Executive Officer of the YWCA of Western New York, Buffalo’s oldest and largest organization for women, whose mission is the empowerment of women and girls and elimination of racism. During her tenure, the YWCA of Western New York launched several new initiatives, provided transitional housing for women and educational opportunities for children.

In 2006, Mayor Byron W. Brown appointed her to serve as the Commissioner of Community Services and Recreational Programming for the City of Buffalo. Mrs. Staples provided administrative oversight and management to seven City of Buffalo Divisions. She also served as a member of the Mayor’s Leadership Cabinet, liaison between the Mayor’s office and government agencies, community-based organizations, businesses, faith-based organizations, and individual residents of the City of Buffalo.

Upon leaving city government, Mrs. Staples joined M&T Bank/Westminster Foundation as Director of Community Affairs for Buffalo Promise Neighborhood. Based on a collective impact model, Mrs. Staples convened diverse stakeholders to create strategies to enhance the quality of life of residents within the 14215 zip code. Her successful results led to her promotion to a Vice President of M&T Bank.

Currently Mrs. Staples is the Director of Community School initiatives for Say Yes Buffalo, a partnership created to strengthen the Western New York economy by investing in the education of Buffalo’s future workforce. In her role, Mrs. Staples oversees strategies to help enhance academic achievements of students in the City of Buffalo.

Mrs. Staples serves as a board member, advisory member, and committee member for numerous organizations, including but not limited to: Community Foundation Communities of Giving Legacy Initiative, Teach for America, Buffalo Elementary School of Technology PS#6, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Gamma Phi Omega Chapter, Erie County Chapter of The Links, Inc., First Shiloh Youth Foundation Inc., Board of Teach for America, Say Yes Forever Endowment Campaign, and the Women’s Group.

Mrs. Staple is a native resident in the city of Buffalo with her husband, Jonathan and their two daughters, Cydney and Taylor. Tanya’s strength, perseverance, and passion are attributed to her spiritual foundation. She is a member of First Shiloh Baptist Church where her husband is Senior Pastor.  Her faith inspires her in the verse, “to whom much is given, much will be required.”

Leadership Team

David Rust is the Executive Director of Say Yes Buffalo.

Tanya Staples is the Senior Director of Community Schools.

Betsy Behrend is the Senior Director for Operations and Communications at Say Yes to Education, Buffalo.

Collin Gehl is the Talent Acquisition and Development Manager with Child & Family Services / Say Yes to Education Buffalo.

Tommy McClam is the Director of the Boys and Men of Color Initiative at Say Yes to Education, Buffalo.

Daphne Ross is the Senior Director for College Success and Communications at Say Yes Buffalo.

Gellenia Smallwood is the Parent Center Director at Say Yes Buffalo.

Emily Wyckoff is the Senior Director for Development and Strategic Partnership at Say Yes Buffalo.

Our Team

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

Jamil Crews is Digital Communications Manager.

Daun Nicholas is the Community Schools Northeast and South Zone Leader.

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