Mayor Kriseman names Leah McRae to serve as director of education

ST. PETERSBURG — Mayor Rick Kriseman named Leah McRae as the city’s Director of Education and Community Engagement on Mon., Oct. 5th.

In this capacity, McRae will work with students, families, faculty, as well as community groups and leaders to advocate on behalf of St. Petersburg’s public schools. She will also serve as a liaison with the Pinellas County School Board and other governmental bodies influencing education policy.

“Leah is uniquely suited for this role,” said Mayor Kriseman. “She has deep roots in St. Petersburg, is a product of our public schools and knows how to mobilize people to work together for the greater good. Her recent service on the Citizen’s Advisory Committee for the South St. Petersburg Community Redevelopment program reinforced our belief that she is the right person at the right time to reconnect our community to our schools.”

McRae will also lead efforts on the implementation of the mayor’s Service Learning Initiative, and will serve as a representative of the city and the mayor on issues of youth, education and civic engagement. She will work closely with departments throughout the city to engage St. Petersburg schools most in need.

“It will be a pleasure to work closely with Leah to support the needs of our children in schools throughout St. Petersburg, particularly in the five elementary schools and many others in South St. Petersburg that require special attention from the school board and the community,” said Nikki Gaskin-Capehart, director of Urban Affairs.

McRae, an attorney, most recently served as a Court Specialist for the Sixth Judicial District. She has served as a volunteer attorney for the Guardian ad Litem program and as an Assistant State Attorney in Miami-Dade County. She has also worked for Lehman Brothers, Hogan and Hartson, Nixon Peabody and the United States Department of Justice.

McRae was appointed by the County Commission to serve as the Vice Chair of the South St. Petersburg Community Redevelopment Program’s Citizen Advisory Committee.

“It is an honor to be called to serve Mayor Kriseman and the Sunshine City,” said McRae. “It is a privilege to work for the people of St. Petersburg who only want the very best for their children.  I look forward to working with the Mayor, and a great city team. Together, we will create the partnerships to help build a true city of opportunity where the sun shines on all who come to live, work, play, and learn.”

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