Staley has lived primarily in the eastern United States. He did his undergraduate studies in art in Springfield, Ohio, where he received a B.F.A. in 1977. Staley attributes the foundation of his skill to his post-B.F.A.year at the Kansas City Art Institute under Ken Ferguson’s supervision and to his graduate program at the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University, New York where he received a M.F.A. in 1980. He has had a distinguished teaching career, beginning with Rhode Island School of Design, Wichita State University, and as Professor at Pennsylvania State University where he has taught since 1990.