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BOE Member At Large
Terrance L. Heard was elected on May 7th, 2019 and sworn into office on July 1st, 2019 to serve his community as an At-Large Member for the Buffalo Board of Education. He is an accomplished leader, visionary, and a dedicated community advocate and has over 22 years of experience working and volunteering with organizations focused on human services, education, and community outreach.
Terrance was born and has lived the majority of his life in Buffalo, New York. He grew up on the east side of Buffalo and graduated with an Electrical diploma from Seneca Vocational High School in 1988. Terrance furthered his education by attending Hilbert/St. Bonaventure University, where in 1994, he was the first African-American to graduate from the college four degree program and received a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice.
For many years, Terrance served as an Educator for the City of Buffalo, including but not limited to teaching History and Electrical Shop at Seneca Vocational High School. Being devoted to our youth, Terrance dedicated his time working as an Assistant High School Coach for basketball, football, softball and soccer programs. In addition to teaching and coaching, Terrance also was assigned to managed the conflict resolution program at Seneca Vocational High School.
In 2005, Terrance’s career accelerated when he relocated to Atlanta, Georgia and assumed a supervisory position at General Motors Corporation. Not long after, he leveraged his Criminal Justice education and became a Correctional Officer for the State of Georgia. During this time, Terrance created and implemented a program called G.I.V.E.S. (Georgia Incarcerated Voices Encouraging Students), aimed at encouraging students to plan for their future and not fall victim to peer pressure, drugs, and procrastination. Due to his outstanding work ethic, Terrance was promoted to Assistant to the Deputy Warden and worked in Human Resources. Within one year, Terrance was promoted to a Parole/Probation Officer for the Georgia Department of Corrections, where he supervised thousands of felony offenders and worked to become an Intrastate Transfer Officer. Terrance was next promoted to a Felony Court Liaison position where he worked for the State of Georgia in Fulton County. Terrance argued and presented the State's recommendation on over 40,000 felony cases in open court, deliberating with District Attorneys, Criminal Attorneys, and Public Defenders while presenting a valid argument for a felon’s sentence outcome to be served in Prison, Jail, Detention Center, Diversion Center, Day Reporting Center, Boot Camp, Drug Court, House Arrest, Intensive Probation, Sex Offenders Supervision or result in dismissal or suspended sentences.
Following his Court Liaison position, Terrance was asked by the State of Georgia Governor’s Office to administer and help write programs for the Metro Atlanta Day Reporting Center where he supervised over 250 felony offenders with three or more felony convictions. Terrance brought in essential developmental counseling programs by partnering with Emory University. He also worked with the Atlanta Board of Education to establish an GED program for felons, religious studies, computer classes, job training, health and wellness programs and drug testing and treatment procedures. Terrance also worked with Fulton County’s Drug Court, ATF, State Police, County Police, City Police and the Sex Offense Team.
Relocating back to Buffalo, Terrance is currently employed at the General Motors Tonawanda Engine Plant where he has worked as an Assistant Team Leader, served on an Innovation Team, and worked with UAW Local 774 on the Ethics Committee.
Seeing a need to help more in his hometown, Terrance ran for political office in 2015 for the position of Ellicott District Councilman. Terrance worked with community leaders and ran on a platform with goals to develop a new plan for the Ellicott District and the east side of Buffalo by helping stop the spread of gentrification, having an open door policy for all residents, supporting community organizations and their strategic goals, addressing urban blight, providing better housing for veterans, and working with churches and their ministries on community initiatives. Terrance didn’t win this campaign but he still considered it successful, because he spearheaded multi-millions dollars of development and job opportunities on the Jefferson Avenue corridor, the promise that he made during his election.
In 2015, Terrance founded and is currently President of ‘Friends for a Better Buffalo’ – an organization committed to empowering residents to take a more active role, and to make impactful contributions, in our neighborhoods, the City of Buffalo, and throughout Western New York. The organization is committed to developing and supporting the youth in our community.
In 2017, Terrance joined the W.I.T.T. (Wisdom in Trouble Times) organization. The organization assembled one hundred African American men in an auditorium and spoke to all of the male students at MST High School about setting goals and becoming the future leaders in the City of Buffalo. The organization also started an in-school mentoring program. Several months later Terrance helped to organize the 100 Black Women forum, which a hundred women spoke with the female students of MST High School about real life situation and assisted the students with all of their prom needs from hair salons, makeup, shoes, and offered an internship at Power 96.5 radio station for any of the students interested in communications as a career. Terrance also helped secure yearly funding for the Willie Hutch Jones Educational & Sports Program Science Fair, STEAM Camp, and Summer Youth Athletic Program. Terrance has also volunteered his time at a program called “Success Looks Like Me”, which assisted minority high school students in travelling to cities across the country (i.e. - New York City, Washington DC, and Detroit) to see and meet minority leaders and high-ranking corporate officials to an effort to encourage the students to pursue a career in advanced manufacturing. In 2017, Terrance also helped write the curriculum for a new Youth Leadership Council Program called Breaking Barriers, which is part of the Say Yes to Buffalo Organization, in which one of his former students is the assistant director. The program will team up adults with young men Buffalo’s Bennett, East, Lafayette and South Park High Schools.
Terrance is a leader within the St. John Business and Leadership Academy, which is under the direction of Pastor Michael Chapman. He has helped secure over $42 million for the redevelopment of the McCarley Gardens housing facility, in which tenants will receive larger spaces with modern materials. Terrance has also been charged with helping the Fruit Belt, the High Street corridor, and Jefferson Avenue with a $500 million dollar social justice ministry that is slated for the East Side of Buffalo. Approximately $19 million dollars of development has already been spent on improving subsidized housing and infrastructure.
Terrance is a recipient of the Canisius College ATS Trailblazer Award. He is a member of the St. John Lodge No. 16 Masons. He is also a Board of Directors member for the Evon Price Memorial Foundation, as well as a member of the Buffalo Black Chamber of Commerce, National Action Network, and the NAACP.
Terrance truly believes in the renaissance that is occurring in Buffalo and continually works to make it a better place for all to work and live. He is married to Nina Heard, is the son of Ruth & Tyrone Heard, brother to three siblings and the father of five children.