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IN THE RACE—James “Fife” Myers Jr. speaking with Louis “Hop” Kendrick, right, and Dr. Emma Lucas-Darby. Myers is running for Pittsburgh School Board. (Photo by J.L.Martello)

If you ask Pittsburgh Public school board candidate James “Fife” Myers Jr. about his opponent in the upcoming primary election, it’s not Sala Udin.

“My opponent is a system that is currently failing our students—the achievement gap is just one of those failings,” he said. “That’s my opponent.”

Myers, the director of Community Affairs and Business Development at Urban Innovation21 who is running against Udin to represent District 3 on the Pittsburgh Board of Education, said he decided to run after Donald Trump won the presidency in November. He said President Trump’s appointment of school choice advocate Betsy DeVos to head the U.S. Department of Education cinched it.

“I saw running for school board as a method for connecting people back to the election process at the local level,” he said. “And being a product of PPS, I’d like to see the standard of public school education raised and to be an integral part of making that happen.”

Though new to running for office, the 38-year-old Myers is not new to educational advocacy, having worked in the past as a paraprofessional at the former Urban League Charter School and providing educational enrichment and tutoring to students at the Schenley Heights Community Center.

“Education has always been near and dear to my heart. In fact, my first role at Urban Innovation21 was as the internship coordinator leading efforts for the first Pittsburgh Promise-CCAC internship program,” he said.

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