District 9 school board candidate interviews


Next year, Flloyd McCrea will step down from his position of Pittsburgh Public Schools school board member from District 9, which includes Summer Hill, Brighton Heights, Observatory Hill and part of Brightwood.

Looking to take his seat are Dr. Lorraine Burton Eberhardt, Dave Schuilenburg and Carolyn Klug.


Dr. Lorraine Burton Eberhardt

Neighborhood:   Summer Hill   15214
Occupation:  Retired Educator


LorraineFaceWhat experience and skills make you an ideal School Board Member?

I am a life-long resident of the Northside and a product of the PPS.  I have also been employed with the PPS District for 31 Years before retirement.  During that time I served as an elementary teacher, a middle school emotional support teacher, a math demonstration teacher, a vice principal, a principal, and  as executive director  for the Division of Instructional Support for the entire district.  I currently have four grandchildren who attend PPS.


Communication between Board Members, and between Board Members and the community, has been a problem. What will you do to ensure stronger two-way communication?

I believe that Board Members are accountable to the communities they serve.  Therefore  I wil work to improve communications between board members, staff,  parents and Community by creating opportunities for shared leadership.


What strategies would you propose to make Northside schools more competitive and desirable?

The PPS student enrollment is down across the district. With enrollment down, budgets become lacking.  Therefore spending must be monitored closely to ensure that only programs which promote student achievement are fostered. In short, the board needs to reidpentify   goals and priorities in an effort to repopulate the district which is inclusive of northside schools.


What will public education look like in 20 years?

I Believe that due to technological advances, education will be presented differently, however, the basics will remain the same.  Students will still need to master the basics of reading, math and science in order compete in a global society.


Define the role of a School Board Member as you envision it.

As a board member I plan to collaborate with district leadership to oversee school budgets, negotiate collective bargaining agreement and set priorities with regards to important issues as they relate to student achievement.

Dave Schuilenburg

Neighborhood:Summer Hill
Occupation: 9-1-1 Officer & Trainer

DaveSuit3bWhat experience and skills make you an ideal School Board Member?

A parent of 2 Pittsburgh elementary school aged children (ages 9 & 6), I am also an executive member of their school’s Parent Community Organization (equivalent to a PTA), and a member of the school’s task force on bullying & discipline. I am also the executive director of a non-profit organization which emphasizes the involvement of both parents in the daily lives of their children, including schooling, regardless of marriage. And as a community leader, not only do I assist national non-profit ‘KaBoom!’ annually in building playgrounds locally so our children have a safe place to play, but I have shown success in being resourceful, including in securing local, state, & federal funding to provide after-school activities for North Side youths. As such, the skills and attributes required to fulfill all these roles make my candidacy uniquely qualified from the other candidates to fulfill the role of an objective and independent school board director, and as public safety officer, I bring a pendent for safer learning environments to the board.


Communication between Board Members, and between Board Members and the community, has been a problem. What will you do to ensure stronger two-way communication?

It is my belief that part of the reason communication has been an issue, be it between board members or with the community, is due to lack independence of the board from the district Administration. School board directors exist not only to represent the interests of voters, but also to legislatively act as an independent ‘checks & balances’ mechanism where it regards the decisions the Administration makes, much like the separation that exists between the mayor’s office & city council. The other part of the issue is that often times the board has made decisions with inaccurate or no information whatsoever, and they have not properly held the Administration accountable in providing such. Transparency in government has always been something I have fought for, including as a founding member of the ‘PA Freedom of Information Coalition’ online community, and should I be elected, I would lead governance of the board in a more transparent & object manner, including:


  • Maintaining a separate website dedicated to the affairs of the board of directors. Currently, when one visits PghBOE.net, it leads to the district Administration’s website, and this, in my opinion, is a conflict of interest;
  • I would submit to holding all meetings in larger rooms. Currently, the Education Committee and Agenda Review meetings are held in a smaller Board Committee Room, where fewer seats are available to the public;
  • I would mandate that committee meetings, including the all important Education Committee, be recorded and make those recordings available to the public on the Board’s website, where the public would benefit from watching or listening as presenters explain that information;
  • I would ensure that meeting agendas are posted in advance & minutes are posted in a timely manner shortly after meetings;
  • I would demand that accurate data & research be presented before making decisions of major importance, including in the areas of school closures & asset sales;
  • I would move the monthly public hearings out of the South Bellefield Avenue building & hold them in a different district school auditorium each month; &
  • In particular to the District 9, I would hold 1 North Side-wide & 1 West End-Wide PSCC meeting per school year so as to report back to parents & education professionals on a more frequent basis, and so as to get parents to become more actively involved in their children’s futures .

What strategies would you propose to make Northside schools more competitive and desirable?

Research data has shown that the largest challenges schools across the North Side have experienced have been in the areas of resource allocation, support services, safety, parental involvement, and district representation. As such, I would support policies that:


  • Ensure great teachers are placed in every classroom, and given the resources & support they need to properly educate & meet the needs of each child they are entrusted with;
  • Help create the best learning environment for our children by attracting and retaining excellent teachers, by supporting their work with enhanced meaningful development and adequate resources, and rewarding those who meet AND exceed goal & standards;
  • Perform school-by-school assessments and redistributes resources according to student and school need, giving priority to our most vulnerable students, recognizing inequities that exist for low-income and communities of color and dedicating resources to eliminate them;
  • Guarantees all students have access to opportunities and programs that boost learning and position students for success, and ensure consistent services are provided that unlock the potential of individual students;
  • Promote a working relationship with the superintendent and staff to craft an annual budget that prioritizes resources to our most vulnerable students & teachers in need;
  • Reinforce positive behavioral support programs, such as school discipline reform that halts the use of out-of-school suspensions and expulsions and prioritizes positive discipline policies that keep students in school and learning rather than barring them from the classroom;
  • Make schools safe and welcoming, including making local schools hubs of community life, in which parents and community members can engage in meaningful dialogue with educators and collaborate to help our children learn and grow;
  • Increase opportunities to proactively and continuously meet with district educators, families,  children, and their communities, allowing me to gain a better understanding of their critical needs and what I can do to support their success.


What will public education look like in 20 years?

The key to assuring that public education exists in 20 years from now lies squarely in Harrisburg. The state Constitution mandates that “The General Assembly shall provide for the maintenance and support of a thorough and efficient system of public education to serve the needs of the Commonwealth”, however the truth of the matter is that not only have they failed in meeting this clear mandate, but public education in Pennsylvania has fallen victim to a national trend of wealthy lobbyists seeking to do away with quality public education. We have seen this battle in North Carolina, Chicago, and even in Philadelphia, where those who wish seek to make a profit from public education have pillaged public funding & resources we need in order to properly educate our youth. It is imperative our elected leaders in Harrisburg stem this hemorrhaging, and properly “support” public education with a dedicated source of funding, and not hold public education hostage to partisan state budget schemes. Some of the ways in which we can accomplish this include by taxing the Marcellus Shale industry, by closing the “Delaware Loophole” (which allows big corporations to avoid paying taxes on their revenues), and by ensuring all businesses pay their taxes, including non-profits who fail to meet state standards which define what a ‘not for profit’ entity truly is. In the end, the future of public education will depend on how it is funded, and without a reliable source of dedicated funding at the state level, public education risks not only being diminished, but dismantled within 20 years. If elected, not only will I pursue a policy of responsible & transparent governance locally, but I will help lead the charge at the state & federal level to assure that public education exists in the future for our children & their children.
Define the role of a School Board Member as you envision it.

School directors are elected by the people to be their independent collective voice towards district Administration policy, and as such, they must act & administer with the people’s will as their guiding creed. They also need to be in tune with the needs of all those involved in educating the children of their districts, and should openly solicit the opinions of all, including teachers, administrators, PTA/PTO/PCO members,  & of course, parents, in order to find & push for solutions that are community driven, and not the product of ‘for profit’ entities. Finally, directors should play an active role in acknowledging those in their district who meet & exceed goals, including not only teachers, but students as well! We must be our children’s biggest advocate & cheerleaders, both in finding funding & solutions to the problems they encounter, and in acknowledging them when they succeed.


Carolyn Klug

Neighborhood: Brighton Heights
Occupation: Retired Teacher with a BA in Psychology with an emphasis on Child Development and Early Childhood and Elementary teaching certificates from Chatham College and a Masters of Professional Writing from Chatham University.


Carolyn Head ShotWhat experience and skills make you an ideal School Board Member?

I have 30+ years of experience working with children.  My work experience with children includes working at the Western PA School for Blind Children, Children and Youth Services and the Pittsburgh Public Schools.  My understanding of how children learn, how schools run, as well as how school districts operate will enable me to advocate for our children.  I also have had a wide range of experience on a number of varied committees give me skills to negotiate and come to a consensus.

Communication between Board Members, and between Board Members and the community, has been a problem. What will you do to ensure stronger two-way communication?

My experience on many area committees has given me the opportunity to hone my negotiation skills.  Some of the committees I have had the opportunity to sit on are: Pittsburgh Symphony’s Educators Committee, Western Pennsylvania Writing Projects Fellows Council (which I chaired), and Girl Scouts of Southwestern PA Committee for Girls with Special Needs.  I have been the Vice President of the School for Blind Children Staff Federation (co-chair of Negotiations) and a member of the Political Action Committee at the Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers.  Learning to listen and to make sure I clearly understand my colleagues has helped me to work with them in accomplishing a common goal.


What strategies would you propose to make Northside schools more competitive and desirable?

Our magnet programs have been a renowned part of the opportunities offered to our children.  We should take a fresh look at these programs and update them.  The district needs to continue to offer a wide range of programs to ensure that the children are getting a well rounded education so that they are prepare for the world once they graduate.  New families are moving into Pittsburgh and must have innovative school choices.  The district needs to strengthen and promote programs at John Morrow and Perry.  Reopening Rooney Middle School will show the community a commitment to the education of our children.  With a strong school district, we will have a vibrant city that people will want to raise their families.

What will public education look like in 20 years?

The delivery of education continually evolves.  Pittsburgh Public Schools will provide a strong foundation for our youngest learners so that when they become graduating seniors, they will be prepared for a diverse world.  Children learn in a variety of ways and the district will address those learning styles to maximize learning.  The district must offer strong programs at each phase of a child’s educational journey.

Define the role of a School Board Member as you envision it.

Board Members should be a conduit between families, the community and the administration.  We must come to the table ready to work together to provide the best education for our children.  Board members must ensure equity so that no child is ever left behind.  They must listen to all voices, not just the loudest so that every idea can be considered as to how/if it would benefit the children.

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