Mayor's Appointee
Harold Pendergrass


Harold Pendergrass was born and raised in Columbus, Ohio, where he attended public schools. As a student at Ohio State University, he majored in political science and participated in civil rights and anti-war causes. He also worked as a counselor and instructor for Upward Bound, providing educational opportunities for “disadvantaged” high school students.

After graduating from Ohio State in 1971, Mr. Pendergrass was accepted at the University of California's Boalt Hall School of Law, Harvard, Yale, Georgetown and Northwestern. He chose Berkeley, where his studies included educational law and policy. His overriding interest in the law, Mr. Pendergrass says, always has been to demystify the law and educate people about how the legal system works and how they can utilize law policy and procedure to benefit those they care for.

After law school, he pursued an interest in the electoral process, working from 1976-1980 in a number of major political campaigns, although, only for candidates he admired or respected greatly. He is a Carter/Mondale Alumni member. Since then, he has lived in Berkeley and Oakland, specializing in federal and international tax law and policy, and has worked a in few other presidential campaigns including the Senator John Glenn 1984, and the Jerry Brown 1992 attempts.

Pendergrass has maintained a long-term interest in education. Close to home, he has been actively involved in promoting the education of the young people in his family, and the children among his friends and clients. His wife, Gloria Sharples Pendergrass, received a Ph.D. in 1992 from the University of Oregon in Psychology/Art Education with a dissertation titled “Intrinsic Motivation and Social Constraints."

Following up on his experience with Upward Bound, he worked with various organizations that focused on youth, public school education, job training, job development and preparation for college. He has also served on the boards of various similar agencies in the bay area.

As a school board member, Mr. Pendergrass has wide-ranging concerns, but two specific goals. He wants to ensure that our local school system improves its financial condition to allow for improvements at the school sites. His top priority, however, is to assure that all Oakland students acquire the basic skills they need to become life-long learners.

“We have to make sure all of our children learn to read,” he said. “The most basic responsibility of our schools is to teach literacy.”

Pendergrass, appointed to the Board by Mayor Jerry Brown, is Chair of the Finance and Human Resources Committee of the Board.

Term Ends: May 2004

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