The Gainey Family
(Left to Right) Michelle Gainey, Darius Gainey, Darlene Gainey-Craig, Ed Gainey, Alexa Gainey
“When I was growing up, public schools were the heart of the neighborhood,” said Darlene Gainey-Craig, a Schenley High School alumna.
Mrs. Gainey-Craig, a forensic supervisor with the Office of the Medical Examiner of Allegheny County, remembers a time when Pittsburgh Public Schools was a community thing and the only place her family turned to for grade school.
“Public schools provide histories that go back generations, such is the case for my family.”
Mrs. Gainey-Craig’s parents, brothers, and aunts all attended Pittsburgh Public Schools. It was no surprise that she sent her two children, Edward and Shade’, to their neighborhood schools.
“I chose to send my son and daughter to a public school because it offered much of what I experienced; a quality education with a sense of pride and diversity.”
The younger of the pair, Shade’, graduated from Pittsburgh CAPA where she studied literary arts. Currently, Shade’ is a senior administrative assistant for Deloitte which is one of the country’s leading consultants, providing industry-leading audit, consulting, tax, and advisory services.
Her son Ed, a varsity basketball player in high school, graduated from Peabody High School in 1988. Then, he went onto Morgan State University to study Business Management, earning his bachelor’s degree in 1994. Since 2012, Mr. Gainey fights for the area that he grew up in as State Representative for the 24th Legislative District. His legislative priorities are labor issues, working-class families, transportation, education, community development and enhancement.
In 2010, he became the first African American to serve as chairman of the Pittsburgh City Democratic Committee. He currently serves as Allegheny County Democratic Committeeman in the 12th Ward 10th District.
In 2006, Mr. Gainey married the love of his life and Pittsburgh Westinghouse graduate, Michelle Coburn.
Mrs. Gainey is the Stability Team Lead at Veterans Leadership Program, assisting veterans and their spouses with securing employment through two programs serving 10 counties and four housing programs serving Allegheny County. She earned an associate’s and bachelor’s degrees from Johnson and Wales in Hotel & Restaurant Management and Hospitality Management, respectively. Mrs. Gainey also holds a master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Point Park University.
Michelle and Ed’s home has a long-standing Westinghouse vs. Peabody rivalry.
“Our family of five has attended eight PPS schools; Crescent, Dilworth, Lincoln, Fulton, Sterrett, Westinghouse, Peabody and Obama. We chose Pittsburgh Public Schools because our families traveled through and have gone on to do great things. We are determined our children will do the same,” said Mrs. Gainey.
Michelle and Ed have three children- Mariah, Alexa, and Darius.
Mariah studied Spanish at Pittsburgh Obama and graduated in 2014. Last May, Mariah graduated magna cum laude from California University of Pennsylvania with associate and bachelor’s degrees in the Arts. She is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Human Resource Development at Villanova University. Mariah now works for CalU as a Development Assistant. She oversees the university’s call center and student callers, raising almost $35,000 in scholarships.
Alexa is a sixth grader at Pittsburgh Obama, where she continues to learn French after leaving the magnet program at Pittsburgh Fulton. Darius is a third grader at Pittsburgh Fulton. He loves playing in the midget football league. His team, the Lincoln Rams, won the 2018 WPYAA Twerp Championship.
Mrs. Gainey-Craig, who is often by her son’s side at every community event, realizes it is that same community that provided her comfort and confidence in Pittsburgh Public Schools.