Exclusive: 30 Parent Leaders Endorse Justin Krebs for Park Slope Council Seat

Exclusive: 30 Parent Leaders Endorse Justin Krebs for Park Slope Council Seat
Justin Krebs. (Image: Zainab Iqbal/Bklyner)

Council candidate Justin Krebs rolled out endorsements from 30 current and former PTA presidents, executive board members and other parent leaders today in his effort to become the next Council Member for District 39, which includes Park Slope, Carroll Gardens, Windsor Terrace and other western Brooklyn neighborhoods.

The list includes parents from several elementary and middle schools across the district and in nearby areas, particularly those in Park Slope, including PS39, PS118, PS124, PS321, MS447, the Cobble Hill Playschool and others (the full list of endorsements is at the end of this article).

“I’ve known Justin and his family since my little ones were very little,” Megan Butler, co-president of the PS39 Parents Association, said in a statement announcing the endorsements. “In both school and community groups, he’s always been the first to step in with ideas – and more importantly, the first to step in to offer help. I’m really excited to see his creativity, fresh perspective, and outreach for our community at the district level.”

Krebs’ own three children currently attend PS39, and he serves on the Parents Associations’ executive board, as well as on the board of the District 15 Presidents Council.

“After years of having spent time working together, that’s a base of support I turned back to for the race,” Krebs told Bklyner. “Because our campaign is focused on schools, and because that’s the work I’ve done.”

Krebs, who currently works as the National Campaigns Director at the advocacy organization MoveOn, has looked to make education a centerpiece of his campaign; earlier this month, he wrote an op-ed in the New York Daily News calling on city leaders to ensure students can return to five-days-a-week in-person schooling by the fall.

“Increasingly, public health data shows us that we can return to schools safely,” Krebs wrote, “if we invest in our safety in smart, impactful ways, ensure adequate COVID tests, increase vaccination rates among teachers and families, and create better home-based options for students who can’t return.”

Krebs says he wants to use his campaign to push for a safe reopening (and to push back against Department of Education budget cuts driven by reduced school enrollment), but if he wins the Council race, he wouldn’t take office until January 2022. At that point, he says, there will be other issues to focus on, including advancing local school integration efforts, increasing “social and emotional learning” opportunities, and perhaps unexpectedly, protecting student data privacy.

“This is viewed as a niche issue, but I think it’s important,” Krebs explained. “That’s data we need to make sure is protected and not monetized in a way we don’t understand. If we can have a real understanding of digital privacy for students now, we can prevent future redlining while also closing the digital divide.”

Krebs is competing against a crowded field of candidates, including Shahana Hanif, a former staffer of outgoing Council Member Brad Lander; organizer Brandon West; attorney and district leader Doug Schneider; former UFT lobbyist Briget Rein; and community health worker Mamnun Haq. The primary election is June 22nd.

The full list of individuals endorsing Krebs is below. Note: these individuals are endorsing the candidate in their personal capacity, not on behalf of the organizations of which they are a part.

Megan Butler, (Co-president, PS39 Parents Association); Julie Baron (PA Executive Board, PS39); Lucia Burns (Treasurer, MS839 PTA); Kristin Brady (Director, Cobble Hill Playschool) Maria Fusilero (PTA Co-president, PS295); Madge Koch (SLT Member and former PA Treasurer, PS39); Jessie Schilling (Former President of Cobble Hill Playschool); Nikki Kelly (PA Executive Board, PS39); Chris Shott (PTA President, PS118); Stefany Morris (President Emerita, Cobble Hill Playschool); Sara Thompson (PA Co-President, PS39); Linnea Olson- Schwartz (Vice President and Former PTA President, PS58); Kim Browne (Former Vice President, Cobble Hill Playschool and Co-Chair of community engagement, Packer Collegiate); Jen Cribbs (PTA Co-President, PS10); Lauren Gropp Lowry (PTA Co-President, PS321); April Andrix (PS 124 PTA President); Supriya Doshi (PS 261 PTA President); Susannah Bortner (educator and administrator of an outdoor program in Prospect Park); Rebekah Cook- Mack (former SLT member, Brooklyn New School), Tate Hausman (Former After School Treasurer, PS261); Talia Kovacs (Literary Specialist, CEO LitLife); Rudi Ganz (Former PA President, PS39); Rebecca Cohen (parent leader and educator), Mary Huhn (PTA President, MS447); Leah Vickers; Daryll Pierre (PA Executive Board, PS39); Jaymie Kelly (PTA President, PS154); Jenny Reckrey (PS 307 PTA Board Member); and Tracy Tonkinson (PA Executive Board, PS39).