One of the functions of the Pennsylvania School Boards Association is to recognize members for their service to local education.

“I think all the awards that we give out are important,” said James Summerville, a PSBA member services manager. “But when somebody has given 36 years to the school community and the greater Peters Township community, I think that’s a pretty big deal.”

With that, he presented a glass plaque from the association to Thomas McMurray, Peters Township School Board president, during the board’s meeting Monday. Summerville also recognized Ronald Dunleavy and William Merrell for their eight years on the board.

“They’re all Peters Township graduates, what I think is not coincidence,” Summerville said. “I think it’s an indication of how committed they are to the Peters Township community and especially the Peters Township educational community.”

McMurray and Merrell both graduated from Peters Township High School in 1968, and Dunleavy is a member of the Class of 1977.

“Today’s school districts are expected to offer more services along with world-class instruction, but with limited resources,” Summerville said. “These expectations provide a tremendous challenge for school directors, who are unpaid volunteers and work tirelessly, giving of their free time, away from their families, to contribute to the schools and communities they serve.”

The PSBA, formed in 1895 as the nation’s first school boards association, has been recognizing board members with honors since 1983.

That was the year McMurray began his service on the Peters Township board. A graduate of Davis & Elkins College in Elkins, W.Va., with a degree in business administration, he is vice president and chief financial officer for Golden Eagle Equipment. He has volunteered as an emergency medical technician and director with Peters Township Ambulance Service since 1969.

Dunleavy is a graduate of the Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee program in Washington, D.C. He is manager of electric technologies and an instructor for Community College of Allegheny County’s Electrical Construction Technology Associate Degree Program, under sponsorship of the Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 5.

Merrell is a U.S. Air Force veteran, retiring as a senior master sergeant after 20 years of service. He has a graduate degree in secondary education from Duquesne University and a dual master’s in geography and regional planning from California University of Pennsylvania, and is retired from teaching after instructing in the area of eighth-grade civics and government.

Multimedia Reporter

Staff writer Harry Funk, a professional journalist for three-plus decades, has been on the staff of The Almanac since 2015. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and master of business administration, both from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

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