Patrica L. Skebeck was inducted into the HCPS Educator Hall of Fame as its 172nd member during Monday’s Harford Board of Education meeting.
She began her 30-year-career with Harford County Public Schools as a third grade teacher at George D. Lisby Elementary School. She then went on to serve as teaching assistant principal at Meadowvale Elementary, where she would teach fifth grade classes in the morning and then cover the office in the afternoons.
Skebeck continued on, becoming full-time assistant principal at Hall's Cross Roads Elementary, where she was eventually promoted to principal.
Toward the end of her career, Skebeck was promoted to Executive Director of Elementary Education at the school’s central office. Under her guidance, three new elementary schools were built, five elementary schools were renovated, kindergarten was expanded to full day, and pre-kindergarten was established.
Skebeck, who retired in 2009, finished her career with Harford County as interim superintendent following the sudden death of Superintendent Jacqueline Haas.
Patch was able to catch up with her before Monday meeting, and here's what she said about being honored:
PATCH: What does being inducted into the Hall of Fame mean to you?
Skebeck: It’s an honor, it really is because over the years I’ve watched folks that I admired and respected as teachers and administrators come in and be inducted, and for the folks to feel that I deserve to be there feels wonderful.
PATCH: What advice would you give educators just starting out?
Skebeck: Manage your time well. Over-plan and remember to do what’s in the best interest of your students.
PATCH: During your 30 years with Harford County Public Schools, what changed the most?
Skebeck: The accountability...going from homogenous to heterogeneous, statewide testing and the core curriculum have all changed.
PATCH: What brought you to Harford County?
Skebeck: I moved here from Indiana, PA, and my husband was hired as a math teacher. At that time, they were so desperate for teachers, and it was Baltimore County that took me sight unseen and put me in an elementary school; I was there a couple of years. Once I started having my family, I stopped and went back after 13 years. I wanted to be in the same county as my kids and I wanted to have the same time off as [they did], and that is when I came to Harford County
PATCH: What's your biggest accomplishment?
Skebeck: Watching other young teachers become really good at their craft and becoming administrators, good administrators. That, to me, is the cleft of the job. It’s hard for me to say what my biggest accomplishment was. The opportunity to work with Dr. Haas and the changes that we made at the school based instructional decision-making. I think all of those.
PATCH: Out of the seven positions you had with Harford County, was there a position you favored the most?
Skebeck: I loved my time at Hall’s Crossroads Elementary. That was my first principal position. I loved being there. I loved the fact that this was my school. I loved the kids, the family. The community there was wonderful, and I think that was my favorite.
PATCH: What do you do in your free time?
Skebeck: I’m on the Board of Directors of Citizens Rehabilitation and Nursing Home in Havre de Grace, and that’s a working board so I spend time there. I’m president of the Retired School Personnel Association, and we have 600 members. We don’t meet often, but it still keeps me busy. And then I’m a chairman on the board of the Ravens Nest. I’m an avid football fan. So I do all that. I do some part-time mentoring with principals. It’s a new position, not a position exactly, but a new opportunity here in Harford County to work with new principals and new assistant principals.
PATCH: This Friday will you be sporting orange for the Orioles or purple for the Ravens?
Skebeck: I will be sporting purple for the Ravens, but I will have something orange on. And I do have a t-shirt that has both birds.