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William Clark appointed to RCSD Board

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William Clark, a former longtime president of the Urban League of Rochester, has been appointed to the Rochester City School District Board of Education.

Clark, who served as president of Urban League from 1994 to 2019, will replace Natalie Sheppard on the Board. Sheppard left  in August to take up a new role as Monroe County's deputy Democratic elections commissioner.

"Mr. Clark’s work in our community is longstanding and his knowledge base will benefit students in the Rochester City School District," said superintendent Lesli Myers-Small, in a statement. "He brings not only his long career with the Urban League of Rochester, but also an understanding of the issues and challenges we face in urban education."

Clark is joining the Board as RCSD continues to find itself in dire fiscal straits. Facing an approximately $76 million budget shortfall, according to the district, more layoffs are expected to hit faculty. Last year, 175 district employees, including 109 teachers, were laid off.

In September of this year, over 200 support staff were approved to be laid off, a process which began the following month.

Clark, who stepped down from his role on the board of Rochester Prep Charter School to take the job, said the position was the best opportunity to serve the most students.

“I couldn’t live with myself had I said no because three or four years from now I wouldn’t know if I could make a difference,” Clark said. “Some folks would say why, why would you take on this responsibility and my answer to them would be you retire from a job you never retire from a mission.”

Clark will need to be reappointed in January, and said he will not run for election next year to keep the seat.

Myers-Small said Clark is an ideal pick to help keep the best interest of district students.

"His expertise preparing urban and underrepresented students for jobs and a college education match with my goal of achieving equity and access to high-quality educational experiences for all students, across all schools," Myers-Small said.

Gino Fanelli is a CITY staff writer. He can be reached at (585) 775-9692 or