In adversity, heroes step calmly step forward and instill confidence in those around them.
That’s how we will always remember Patricia Skebeck, as a hero who when pressed into a really, really difficult situation, stood tall and made all those around her better for it.
Mrs. Skebeck, who died Oct. 11 at age 75, was a member of the Harford County Public Schools top administration when she was asked by the Board of Education to take command of the system following the sudden death of then-Superintendent Jacqueline Haas in late 2008. Mrs. Skebeck was planning to retire at the end of the school year that spring after a career in education spanning 43 years. She could have declined but did not, and as we have pointed out previously in the space, she was the absolute right choice and performed admirably.
Upon her induction to the Harford County Public School educator Hall of Fame in October 2012, then HCPS superintendent Robert Tomback, who succeeded Mrs. Skebeck said "this school system was in a pretty precarious position," but Mrs. Skebeck stepped in "and, in more ways than most people know, held this school system together."
Tomback also thanked her for helping him get acclimated when he succeeded her in July 2009, saying: "I owe you both a professional and personal debt of gratitude." We suspect many of Mrs. Skebeck’s friends and former colleagues were thinking similar thoughts as they stood in silence in front of school headquarters in Bel Air Wednesday afternoon when the hearse carrying her remains drove by on its way to her final resting place in Bel Air Memorial Gardens.