Wesley J. Lee
Wesley J. Lee was born in Ayden, North Carolina. He is married to Charlene; and he is the father, grandfather and great grandfather of seven daughters, eight grandchildren and one great grandchild. He received his secondary education in Ayden and Baltimore, Maryland schools. He received a bachelor’s degree in political science from North Carolina A&T State University (1970) and a Master of Public Administration degree from Marist College (1993). His master thesis was “Managing Diversity in American Corporations”. He also wrote several articles, for the Poughkeepsie Journal, about corporate management of diversity; which helped garner him a consultancy with the Beneficial Corporation. As a consultant for Beneficial, Wesley helped many young people, of diverse backgrounds, gain meaningful employment with the corporation.
Wesley’s professional career has been in public housing management. He served 19 years managing public housing in New York City, Poughkeepsie and Greenburg, New York, where he was Executive Director. He consistently helped to improve the quality of life of public housing residents throughout his career. In addition, Wesley has worked with at risk youth, helping them to become educated and gain meaningful employment since 1970. He founded Save At Risk Children for Corporate America, Inc. (SARCA) in 1996. SARCA, currently in its 23rd year, has helped a great number of at-risk youths improve their quality of life.
After leaving public housing management in 2000, Wesley served as Program Coordinator of the Even Start Family Literacy program, for the Poughkeepsie City School District (PCSD), for six years. And the program was under SARCA for two additional years. The program helped break the cycle of poverty, for the neediest families in the City of Poughkeepsie, by providing literacy for parents and their children, in intensity and duration, to make a positive change. He also served as Director of the After-School Program for PCSD 2006 – 2007. During that year, he partnered with The Dutchess County Community Foundation to help administer the program. Wesley has served as an Adjunct Professor of History and Government at Dutchess Community College since 1994. He also worked part time for Family Services eight years (2001- 2009), as a facilitator of Domestic Abuse Awareness Classes (DAAC) for men mandated by the Court. Wesley’s community service has been recognized, by Beulah Baptist Church Social Action Committee, with the Black Achievers Award; the NAACP with the Men of Distinction Award; the Poughkeepsie Prestige Committee with the Prestige Award for Community Service, the St. Joseph Fellowship with the Man of the Year Award, the Poughkeepsie Neighborhood Club with the Community Service Award and the Firemen Exempt Organization of Poughkeepsie with the Community Service Award. Retired (partially) since 2007, Wesley continues to serve as Executive Director of SARCA; and as an adjunct instructor at Dutchess Community College. He was recently promoted to Adjunct Assistant Professor of History and Government. In addition, he is a member of the Poughkeepsie Alliance, an organization of local businesses and community organizations working to improve the quality of life in the City of Poughkeepsie. He is an active member, and past Polemarch (President), of the Poughkeepsie Alumni Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc.; which, along with other African American sororities and fraternities, provide a plethora of services for needy families in the Hudson Valley region. In August of 2016, Wesley was given an opportunity to write 10 articles, for the Poughkeepsie Journal, about the great community work implemented by the local chapters of each African American sorority and fraternity and the local chapter of the National Pan Hellenic Council (represents all nine fraternities and sororities, nicknamed the “Divine Nine”). For the past two years, he has been a member of Dutchess Community College President’s Advisory Committee. Wesley has advocated for the reinstatement of a much-needed family literacy program in the city of Poughkeepsie ever since the Even Start Family Literacy program was discontinued in 2008, due to a lack of funding. In April of 2019, Wesley gladly accepted an invitation to join the board of Day One, which will institute early learning in our region again. His constant suggestion to young people is, “Do not allow your mediocrity to rise to the level of your opportunity”.
As a consultant for Beneficial, Wesley helped many young people, of diverse backgrounds, gain meaningful employment with the corporation.