Four leaving Pittsburgh school board

Just one incumbent means hefty turnover

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Four of five incumbents on the board of Pittsburgh Public Schools aren't seeking re-election, setting the stage for the biggest change of board membership in more than 20 years.

In a year when odd-numbered seats are up for election, board president Sharene Shealey of North Point Breeze, District 1, and members Theresa Colaizzi of Greenfield, District 5; Jean Fink of Carrick, District 7; and Floyd "Skip" McCrea of the North Side, District 9, did not file for the primary by the Tuesday deadline.

The only incumbent seeking re-election is first vice president Thomas Sumpter of Schenley Heights, District 3.

Ms. Shealey, who is in her first term, became president in December and is the mother of three, said she is "grateful" to have served on the board, but "it's just not the right time for me with my children being so young. That is the most overriding reason."

She also noted, "You spend as much time focused on adult issues as you do about issues regarding the education of children. My interests are more in serving children."

As for the board turnover, she said, "Everybody's going to have to learn about everybody else to be able to work together, but I'm hopeful that the district is heading in the right direction and it will continue to do so."

Ms. Colaizzi, a former board president who was elected in 2001, said, "I just think it's time to move on. I'm tired, to be honest with you."

Ms. Fink -- the longest serving member and also a former board president -- has been on the board since 1976 except for one four-year term.

"I'm tired," she said, adding, "I think it's time for new blood."

Mr. McCrea, a retired firefighter who as recently as last week was undecided, said Tuesday, "It wasn't an easy decision."

This will be the first election since voting district boundaries were adjusted last year to account for population changes recorded in the 2010 census. The school district includes the city of Pittsburgh and Mount Oliver.

Each of the nine voting districts has some boundary changes.

The candidates running in the May 21 primary include:

District 1 (Larimer, Homewood West, Homewood North, Homewood South, East Hills, North Point Breeze and Point Breeze):

• Sylvia C. Wilson, 62, of Lincoln-Larimer, cross-filed on both parties, recently retired as assistant to the president of the Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers. She also was secretary of the union for many years. She taught in Spring Hill, Miller and Manchester elementary schools. Her two children attended city public schools.

• Lucille Prater-Holliday, 56, Democratic ballot, a Homewood community activist who unsuccessfully challenged city Councilman Ricky Burgess in 2011.

District 3 (Crawford-Roberts, Middle Hill, Terrace Village, West Oakland, North Oakland, Bloomfield, Garfield, Friendship and East Liberty):

• Mr. Sumpter, 62, Democratic ballot, of Schenley Heights, elected in 2005, now first vice president; father of two district graduates; and retired after 25 years in various posts with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in Pittsburgh.

District 5 (Greenfield, Hazelwood, Swisshelm Park, Glen Hazel, South Oakland and Central Oakland):

• Terry Kennedy, 51, of Squirrel Hill (on the Greenfield line), cross-filed, president of the PTSA at Pittsburgh CAPA 6-12, has been active in other school groups, including the district's Excellence for All Parent Steering Committee; and is a member of the Pittsburgh Local Task Force on the Right to Education.

• Stephen DeFlitch, 42, of Greenfield, Democratic ballot, an engineer, representative for both Pittsburgh CAPA 6-12 and Minadeo PreK-5 on the district's Excellence for All Parent Steering Committee.

District 7 (Overbrook, Carrick, Bon Air, Knoxville, Mount Oliver, St. Clair, South Side Slopes, South Side Flats, Arlington Heights and Arlington):

• Cynthia Ann Falls, 59, cross-filed, of Overbrook, a health technology instructor at Pittsburgh Oliver High School from 1992 to 1995 and at Pittsburgh Carrick from 1995 to 2010.

District 9 (Fairywood, Windgap, Chartiers City, Esplen, Sheraden, Crafton Heights, Elliott, West End, Westwood, Oakwood, Ridgemont, Brighton Heights, Perry North and Summer Hill):

• Lorraine Burton Eberhardt, 57, Democratic ballot, of Summer Hill.

• Dave Schuilenburg, 39, Democratic ballot, Summer Hill parent; 911 officer and trainer with Allegheny County Department of Emergency Services; and vice president of the Summer Hill Citizens Committee, according to his Facebook page.

• Carolyn Klug, 54, cross-filed, of Brighton Heights.

Correction, posted March 22, 2013: In an earlier version of this story, the neighborhoods in District 3 were incorrect.

education - neigh_city

Education writer Eleanor Chute: echute@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1955.


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