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Sharon Belton-Cottman of Buffalo Named Big 5 Chairperson Cynthia Elliot of Rochester Named Big 5 Vice-Chairperson

FOR RELEASE: August 11, 2022
Big 5 Contact: Jennifer Pyle, 518-465-4274

The Conference of Big 5 School Districts announces the appointment of Sharon Belton-Cottman, member of the Buffalo Board of Education as the Chairperson of the Organization.  Cynthia Elliott, President of the Rochester Board of Education, will serve as Vice-Chairperson.

Chairperson Belton-Cottman was first elected to the Buffalo Board of Education in 2011 and is the immediate past President of the Board.  She has served on numerous task forces and educational and community advisory boards.  Chairperson Belton-Cottman is committed to the Conference’s Mission of promoting a more equitable funding system and the delivery of a high quality education to all children. "It is my honor to serve,” said Belton-Cottman.  “I look forward to working with our members in improving the quality of the education for our students in our conference and throughout our state." 

Vice-Chairperson Elliott was first elected to the Rochester Board of Education in 2006.  She has over 45 years of experience serving as a community activist and is dedicated to representing the economically and socially disadvantaged children and families of Rochester and across the State.

The Conference of Big 5 School Districts is a membership organization representing New York State’s urban school systems including the Buffalo, New York City, Rochester, Syracuse, Yonkers, Albany, Mount Vernon and Utica City School Districts.  Collectively, 46% of the State’s public school children are educated in these districts. 

The Big 5 organization has been advocating and promoting urban education issues before federal, State and local entities since 1958.  In 2014, the Organization expanded its scope to include other urban school districts with comparable student demographics and fiscal capacity issues as Affiliate Members.  The eight-member school districts work together through the Organization to speak with one voice on the needs and strengths of urban education in New York State.