Family, colleagues and community
celebrate Tony Clement Center for Education
ALBANY, N.Y. (Sept.
18, 2017) –
Beloved principal, teacher and coach Tony Clement was remembered
Saturday when the school that now bears his name invited the community
to a block party and ribbon-cutting ceremony.
Joining Principal Sophia Newell to cut the ribbon on the Tony Clement
Center for Education were Clement’s widow Jennifer, his sons David and
Anthony and his cousin
Clement, who died of cancer in 2012 at the age of 47, worked for the
City School District of Albany for 18 years as a teacher, coach and
principal. The Tony Clement Center for Education opened this month at
395 Elk St., the former home of West Hill Middle School. That school
merged into the district's new middle school at 50 North Lark St., the
Edmund J. O'Neal Middle School of Excellence.
Also taking part in Saturday’s festivities Albany County District
Attorney David Soares, state Assemblywoman Pat Fahy and state
Assemblyman John McDonald, along with students and staff at the new
school, community members and several of Clement’s former colleagues.
Known as “Big Tony” by friends, the 6-foot-8 Clement was a native of
Nigeria. He began his career in the district in 1994 as a physical
education teacher at the former Harriet Gibbons High School. He
eventually became principal at Harriet Gibbons after being an assistant
principal at Arbor Hill Elementary School and a house principal at
At the time of his death, he was principal at Philip Schuyler
Clement cared deeply about children -- beginning with his two sons and
two daughters -- and found his greatest satisfaction as an educator in
guiding and serving as a role model for African-American students.
“The passion has always been inner-city schools,” Clement told the
for a 2005 feature about his role as house principal of Albany High’s
former ninth-grade academy. "This is where the kids need
African-American role models. This is where the kids need to see that
it's OK to go to college."
Although he possessed bachelor’s and master’s degrees and was pursuing a
doctorate when he died, it was Clement’s height and history as a pro
basketball player that impressed students at first glance.
Later, they knew him as a teacher, coach and principal who believed in
the potential of every one of his students – even if they didn’t believe
it themselves. He had a commanding presence in any setting, whether
working with a prekindergartener or high school senior, but he was a
soft touch, too.
To his colleagues, Clement was a mentor, supporter and friend – a leader
The Tony Clement Center for Education is located at
395 Elk Street in Albany’s West Hill neighborhood. Through a variety of
programs, the school serves students in grades 7-12 who have struggled
with academic or behavior issues in a traditional classroom. The school
is formerly known as the Alternative Education Center.
Read more about the block party and dedication of the school in his
a story that appeared in Saturday’s
You also can
check out a Facebook photo album of the event here. (You
don't need a Facebook account to view the pictures. A window may display
the text, "To see more from Albany City Schools on Facebook, log in or
create an account," but you can dismiss it by clicking “not now.”)
The mission of the City School District of
Albany is to educate and prepare all students for
college and career, citizenship and life, in partnership with our
diverse community. The district serves
students in 18
elementary, middle and high schools. In addition to neighborhood
schools, the district includes several magnet schools and programs, as
well as other innovative academic opportunities for students,
including four themed academies at Albany High