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School board member from Plum joins national advocacy group

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Joe Tommarello is running for Plum mayor.

Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2013, 9:01 p.m.

Joe Tommarello is believed to be the youngest borough resident to serve on the Plum School Board.

Tommarello, 20, now has another distinction.

Tommarello, a 2011 Plum High School graduate, has been appointed to the National School Boards Association (NSBA) Federal Relations Network (FRN), a national grassroots advocacy network that comprises local school board members from across the country who are working as advocates of public education at the federal level.

“I am proud to be appointed as an FRN member and look forward to making a difference as we advocate for NSBA's priority issues at the federal level,” Tommarello said.

Tommarello said over the summer he expressed an interest in the post and recently was informed of his selection.

FRN members work to develop a rapport with their U.S. Representatives and Senators and communicate the impact that federal legislation may have on their local schools as a proposal is moving through the legislative process, according to an FRN press release.

Tommarello, whose term on the Plum School Board runs through December 2015, said one priority he plans to talk with legislators including U.S. Rep Keith Rothfus (R-12) is local control.

“I will discuss educational reform and keeping big government out of local school districts,” Tommarello said.

Other local school board members who are on the Federal Relations Network are: Oliver Drumheller, Gateway; Carlotta Del Vecchio, Leechburg; Maureen Grosheider, North Allegheny; Thomas Kelly and Lou Nudi, North Hills; Therese Dawson, Pine-Richland; and Gianni Floro, Quaker Valley.

The board members are scheduled to participate in the National School Boards Advocacy Institute set for Feb. 2 to 4 in Washington, D.C.

Tommarello looks forward to meeting the other board members and discussing school-related topics with federal legislators.

“This advocacy institute provides a platform for me to showcase the success of our district with our members of Congress, the administration and fellow school board members across the nation,” Tommarello said.

“In addition, it provides an opportunity to learn from other advocates about strategies that could benefit our district's efforts to advance student achievement and to continue a dialogue with our congressional leaders about priorities such as closing achievement gaps, raising graduation rates, college and career readiness for students, and effective school performance and accountability.”

Karen Zapf is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-856-7400 ext. 8753 or

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