Joe Cantafio    For West Seneca Town Council



Joe is a graduate of West Seneca West High School, and continued his education by earning a degree from the University at Buffalo and his Master’s degree in Education from Canisius College. Additionally, Joe is a graduate from the NYSUT Leadership Institute and the AFL-CIO Leadership Institute. Joe is a recipient of the NYSUT Leadership Awards for our District, Region, and New York State. Joe is married to Karen; together, they have triplets who are now freshmen in college.

Joe is the Statewide Delegate for the American Federation of Teachers, a member of the NYSUT Board of Directors, and the general Vice-President of the WNY Area Labor Federation. Previously, he served as the Statewide Director of the National Education Association.

Joe has been a History and Government teacher in the West Seneca School District since 1994. He has been a coach since 1989; having coached football, wrestling, and lacrosse. In 2016, the West Seneca Chamber of Commerce awarded Joe ‘Educator of the Year’ for his service and dedication to our children.

As President of the West Seneca Teacher’s Association, Joe has saved taxpayers approximately one million dollars per year by controlling healthcare costs through self-funding and negotiating with pharmaceutical and healthcare companies. In his role with the WSTA, Joe stood up to Governor Cuomo when he wanted to take ‘Local Control’ away from our schools, and was able to unite residents against this act. Joe has fought for more state funding for our schools, worked with the district to lower costs for taxpayers, and created various opportunities for WSTA to give back to the community.

Joe’s dedication to his community is not limited to his role in the school district. Joe is a devoted member and former Officer of the West Seneca Lions Club; in 2012, he received the President’s Award for Community Service.

Joe has served as Chairman of the West Seneca Satellite of the Variety Kids Telethon since the 1990s, bringing community organizations and residents across our Town together to raise well over $1 million for sick and disabled children in the Western New York Region. The Variety Kids Telethon awarded him ‘Person of the Year’ for his incredible commitment to their program. The AFL-CIO also recognized Joe as the Variety Kids Labor Volunteer of the Year. When Lexington Green flooded, Joe led a group that raised over $60,000 to immediately help 75 families with support for groceries, home supplies, and clothing.

Joe is a proud candidate for Real Men Wear Pink. He has raised $60,000 over the past 2 years for the American Cancer Society; he was ranked in the top ten in the nation for donations over 4,000 other candidates. Joe created and leads the ‘Unions Against Cancer’ year-round fundraiser for the American Cancer Society. In this program, Joe raises money for wigs, transportation, and hotel costs for those undergoing cancer treatment.

In 2019, the West Seneca Chamber of Commerce again recognized Joe, naming him ‘Citizen of the Year’ for his continued leadership, service, and devotion to West Seneca. In December 2012, he was recognized by the Erie County Legislature as ‘Citizen of the Month’. Joe received the WSTA Bob Keefer Memorial Award for Community Service in 2019.