In addition to being the first woman and first African-American elected to chair the board of ALCOSAN, Larimer resident Sylvia Wilson is first vice president of the Pittsburgh Public Schools Board, treasurer of the Allegheny County Labor Council, and a member of the Democratic National Committee. A graduate of Carnegie Mellon, Sylvia taught for 26 years at Spring Hill, Miller and Manchester Elementary Schools, and then worked for 14 years for the Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers.

Monday, May 1

My mornings begin with news on KDKA and CBS. Then I walk for 30 minutes in my neighborhood, and finish my exercise with some stretching and weightlifting.

I have a lunch meeting at MARC USA in Station Square to discuss positive developments involving Alcosan’s clean water campaign. Some of the 83 Alcosan municipalities have made good progress with sewer upgrades to keep stormwater overflows from reaching the rivers. I want to visit Etna, which has been particularly proactive with the wet weather demonstration project.

At 5:30 p.m., I have a Pittsburgh Public Schools committee meeting. Afterward, I’ll go to the May Day March on the South Side. The theme is: “A day of action for workers and immigrant rights.”

Tuesday, May 2

I have an 8:30 a.m. fundraising meeting at the Pittsburgh Chapter of the A. Philip Randolph Institute, an AFL-CIO-affiliated organization of African American trade unionists.

Before leaving, I’ll sign checks for operating expenses and weekly stipends for students in the Breaking the Chains of Poverty job training program, which is based out of the U.S. Steelworkers Union headquarters, and visit with the current class.

Sylvia Wilson

Sylvia Wilson. Photo by Fred Kenderson.

I have meetings at the PPS Board Office starting at 1:30 p.m. with the Pre-Education Committee. I also chair the Education Committee, which meets at 5:30 p.m.

In between, our Executive Committee meets with Superintendent Anthony Hamlet and Solicitor Ira Weiss to discuss various issues and any personnel concerns.

This evening, I’m meeting a friend at Wallace’s TapRoom at the Hotel Indigo to prepare for the GPS Pittsburgh Candidate Town Hall on Wednesday. I’m running unopposed for my second term on the school board, representing District 1. Several organizations make up GPS Pittsburgh, which stands for “Great Public Schools.”

Wednesday, May 3

I have a noon meeting at the PPS Board Office to prepare for the superintendent’s annual evaluation. Dr. Hamlet joined the district nine months ago, and last week he presented his five-year strategic plan, “Expect Great Things,” the culmination of many community meetings, data review and third-party analysis. The plan identifies priorities going forward, with a bottom line goal of ensuring that all students graduate ready for college if they choose, a career, and life.

This afternoon, I’m meeting my younger son Maurice, to catch up. He lives in Penn Hills.

Tonight I’m attending the GPS Candidate Town Hall at Pittsburgh Science and Technology Academy in Oakland.

Thursday, May 4

My reward after morning exercise is breakfast with my older son Julian at Nancy’s East End Diner in Wilkinsburg. I always get two eggs, wheat toast and grits; I should limit my egg yolk intake but sometimes you have to splurge! I’ve been a vegetarian for five years, so I try to eat healthy.

After breakfast, I’m getting a much-needed massage at Peace, Love & Zen wellness center in East Liberty.

I’ll visit one or two schools before my 5:30 p.m. Executive Committee meeting of the Allegheny County Labor Council at the IBEW Local 5 union hall. We’ll discuss a lot of issues affecting workers. I got involved with unions early in my teaching career. I joined the Pittsburgh Federation of Teachersand since I paid duesI thought it was important to attend meetings and get involved with union activities.

Friday, May 5

I’m off to Lincoln Elementary to be a guest reader. Lincoln is a STEAM school and what these children know about science, math and the environment would surprise you. They offer hands-on learning experiences, such as flying a drone and making aerial maps from things they observe. So impressive!

This evening, the Labor Council holds its annual fundraiser dinner at the Sheraton Station Square. This is a nice event that draws up to 1,000 people. In 2005, I was the first woman chosen as Labor Union Woman of the Yearthat was a spectacular evening.

Sylvia Wilson

Sylvia at the 2016 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. Sylvia is a member of the Democratic National Committee and Pittsburgh’s 12th Ward Democratic Committee.

Saturday, May 6

I’m attending the PFT’s Toddlerpaloozaa promotion of efforts to achieve universal pre-K in Pittsburgh.

Later, I’m helping to organize the Men’s Chicken Dinner for Church of the Holy Cross, a fundraiser that will be held May 13. Holy Cross is the church where I was christened. It was my grandmother’s church, and I’ve immersed myself in church activities. We’re looking for a new Episcopal priest since Moni McIntyre stepped down. She’s an assistant professor at Duquesne University and such an accomplished womanI really miss her!

Sunday, May 7

I’ll pick up Julian and Maurice for the 10:30 a.m. church service.

At 1 p.m., I’ve got a vestry meeting, and this evening, the Pennsylvania Interfaith Impact Network dinner.

When I get home, I’ll relax with some TV watchingMadame Secretary and Elementary.

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About The Author

Arts + Events editor

Former arts & culture editor of Pop City; worked at the Mattress Factory, Brooklyn Museum of Art and Dahesh Museum of Art. Co-author of Pittsburgh Signs Project: 250 Signs of Western Pennsylvania and co-coordinator of Handmade Arcade. In a band called The Garment District; founding member of Brooklyn's The Ladybug Transistor.

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