With 30 years of service with Harford County Public Schools, former teacher and interim superintendent Patricia Skebeck was honored by the school board and her peers as she was inducted into the Educator Hall of Fame Monday night.
Skebeck was born and raised in Indiana, Pa., where she earned a bachelor of science in education from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. She earned a master of education in elementary education from Towson University and completed post-graduate work at Towson University, Loyola College and Goucher College.
She started off as a third grade teacher at George D. Lisby Elementary School and, in her 30 years with the school system, worked up the ranks to assistant principal at Meadowvale and Youth's Benefit elementary schools, principal at Hall's Cross Roads Elementary, was transferred to William Paca Elementary and then executive director of elementary education at the HCPS central office.
"Ms. Skebeck made several significant contributions to the school system during her career," HCPS Communication Manager Teri Kranefeld said. "She was instrumental in HCPS becoming a more data-driven system, bringing more resources to the school levels with mentor teachers and instructional facilitators accessible to the schools and teachers. Under her leadership as director, pre-kindergarten was instituted and kindergarten expanded to a full day, three new elementary schools were built and staffed and five elementary schools were renovated."
After the sudden death of superintendent Dr. Jacqueline C. Haas in December 2008, Skebeck became interim superintendent until her retirement in July 2009.
As an educator, Skebeck received many awards, including the Milken National Educator Award and was selected as a member of the State Superintendent's Talent Pool.
Skebeck serves on the board of directors of Citizens Rehabilitation and Nursing Home and chairs a scholarship program sponsored by the Ravens Nest No. 1, which she is also a part of, that has given more than $100,000 to student athletes in Harford County high schools.
The honor, noted school board member Nancy Reynolds during her recognition, is "very well deserving."
Superintendent Robert Tomback, who took over for Skebeck after her retirement, joked that the two go back "all the way back to 2009."
"With the passing of Dr. Haas," Tomback said, "this school system was in a pretty precarious position." Skebeck stepped in "and, in more ways than most people know, held this school system together."
Skebeck taught a lot of what she knew to Tomback and because of that he said, "I owe you both a professional and personal debt of gratitude."
Skebeck thanked the Retired School Personnel Association, of which is she also president, and her family, who is "responsible for any success I have."
During her time at HCPS, Skebeck said she "had the good fortune to work with great teachers and great kids."
She thanked the school board members, past and present who she has worked with.
"All of you [try] to do what's best for kids every day," Skebeck commented. Those members, along with everyone else she worked with "influenced my work and made me a better teacher, better administrator [and] better leader."
Skebeck's granddaughter and grandson presented her with a bouquet of flowers and hugs.
Her granddaughter said on behalf of the whole family: "We love you so much and we're so proud of all you've accomplished."