Return to Headlines

Sharon Belton-Cottman

Board President and Ferry District Board Member



Sharon M. Belton-Cottman was sworn in as President of the Buffalo Board of Education on January 3, 2023.


Sharon served as Board President from July 1, 2019 to July 1, 2021.  She has served as Ferry District Representative since the spring of 2011.  Born to loving and nurturing parents, the late Thelma and Edward Belton,  Sharon is a native Buffaloian and a product of the WNY Educational System - attending schools #47, Clinton Jr. High, Genesee Humboldt, East High.  Additionally, she attended Canisius College and earned a Bachelor of Science from Medaille College.


Sharon is an advocate and passionate defender of her district and all children. During her tenure, Sharon has served as Vice President of Executive Affairs, Chair of Finance and Operations, on numerous task forces, educational and community advisory boards. Demanding more transparency in governance, equity in schools, and accountability, Sharon is an avid participant in board committees and work sessions.  Since 2013 her focus has expanded to working with stakeholders, staff, parents and students' concerns.  With personal goals targeted at increasing and improving options for overaged students in Career Technological Education (vocational), Virtual Learning, Science Technology Engineering, Art and Mathematics (STEM/STEAM), Interdisciplinary Science Engineering Partnership, Restorative Justice, Mental Health, Special Education, Alternative Education, Adults Education, English Learners and mentoring.


A few of Sharon’s collaborations include Say Yes to Education, WNY STEM PS#74 ‘Spud Launcher’ winners of NASA Children Space Flight Program, Teenage pregnancy reduction incentive with HOPE Buffalo, and the World Day of Hajad. She most recently assisted in the launching of a pilot Adult Education Training program working with Alfred State and NYS Empire State Development at Burgard High School teaching welding and machine tool to the community.  Sharon has played a part in many of the innovative high schools addressed in the Educational Bargain. They are Math Science and Technology, Burgard, Bennett High School of Innovative Technology which includes Computers Applied Technology, Research Institute of Bioinformatics, along with Middle Early College whose graduation rate is the highest for minority males in the city. Her most recent activities include an effort to establish a solid base for Robotic and STEM/STEM to thrive throughout the entire district.


Sharon’s career focused primarily in the financial industries. Working as a licensed Insurance Consultant with Allstate, licensed Mortgage Banker with Rochester Community Savings Bank, Citizens Bank, Charter One Bank and Wells Fargo, Insurance Supervisor with Goldome Agency and Empire Realty, Community Lending Officer with Charter One Bank, Personal Banker with Rochester Community Savings Bank, and a lifelong Community Advocator. Previous licenses include Casualty, Life/Health, Accident/Health, Mutual Funds Series 6 and 63, and National Mortgage Licensed Banker. She also worked for a brief period as a Buffalo Substitute Teacher. While working in the mortgage industry, she was instrumental in two state of the art housing developments, Main and LaSalle and Walden Heights. This very active lady is also a mother, a grandmother and a mentor. A member of True Bethel Baptist Church, Brunswick Block Club, Hamlin Park Taxpayers Association, Women of Worth, Sista Chat Book club. Former memberships include the Buffalo Niagara National Action Network, S.E.N.S.E.S., Buffalo Erie Niagara Exchange Club, and P.U.S.H.


Acknowledging that each of her life’s experiences have prepared her for this moment in time, Sharon continues to hit the deck running, analyzing and addressing the complexities associated with overturning years of inequalities, low expectations, and correcting the educational system in Buffalo Public Schools.  She remains laser focused on leveling the educational playing field and is committed to maximizing parent engagement and involvement, thus insuring that all children receive a world-class education. Sharon is a living example of the African Principle of “Sankofa”; while moving forward, she continues to reach back and assist those in need.