About Steve

Steve Schewel has a strong record of service to the Durham community and three decades of experience as a small business owner and entrepreneur.
Steve, 64, has his B.A. and Ph.D. from Duke. His first job out of graduate school was teaching writing at North Carolina Central University.

Steve’s wife, Lao Rubert, is executive director of the Carolina Justice Policy Center. Steve and Lao have raised two boys, both of whom attended Durham Public Schools from kindergarten through graduation.

Highlights of Steve’s record include:

* Steve is a former member (2004-2008) and vice-chair of the Durham Public Schools Board of Education.

* He recently received a statewide award, being recognized by the North Carolina Recreation and Parks Association as their 2014 North Carolina “Distinguished Legislator” for his advocacy of the funding, upkeep and safety of Durham’s parks.

* Steve co-founded the Independent Weekly in 1983 and remained the president and majority owner of the company until selling it in 2012.

* Steve co-founded the Hopscotch Music Festival in 2010 and remained a partner in the festival until selling it in 2014.

* He is currently a visiting assistant professor of public policy in the Hart Leadership Program at Duke University’s Sanford School where he has taught since 2000.

* For 18 years, he was a youth soccer coach in Durham including at the YMCA, Brogden Middle School and, most recently, at Riverside High School.

* Ten years ago he (along with his student advisees from UNC and Duke) founded Crayons2Calculators (C2C), whose mission is to donate free supplies to Durham Public Schools teachers. In the last ten years, C2C has acquired and donated hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of free supplies to teachers. Steve served for many years on the C2C board.

* He is past Co-President of the E.K. Powe PTA.

* He served on the Merger Issues Task Force for the city and county school systems, and he chaired the committee that wrote the final merger report.

* He now serves or has served on many community boards including the Durham Tech Community Foundation (for 21 years, past chair), the Durham Public Education Network, the Durham Arts Council, the Blue Ribbon Commission for the Future of Durham High School (now Durham School of the Arts), Urban Ministries of Durham, the N.C. Museum of Life and Science, and the community advisory boards for both WNCU and WUNC radio.

City Council Duties:

  • Council liaison to the Durham Housing Authority;
  • Co-chair, Finance Committee, Mayor’s Poverty Reduction Initiative;
  • Member, Audit Services Committee;
  • Council liaison to the Recreation Advisory Commission;
  • Member, Durham-CH Metropolitan Planning Organization;
  • Council liaison to the Durham Open Space and Trails Commission;
  • Member, City Insurance Committee;
  • Member, council Legislative Affairs Committee


Steve came to Durham from Lynchburg, Va. in 1969 to attend Duke as an undergraduate. He left briefly to attend graduate school, but has been a Durham resident ever since.

  • B.A. from Duke, 1973, magna cum laude
  • M.A. from Columbia University, New York City, 1974
  • Ph. D. from Duke, 1982, in Education