Dr. Sybil Knight-Burney

Superintendent, Harrisburg City School District
Harrisburg, PA

Dr. Sybil Knight-Burney is a transformational education leader! She has served as the Superintendent of the Harrisburg City School District since 2010. As Superintendent, Dr. Knight-Burney is focused on the critical work of improving student achievement and district performance, preparing students for college and careers, expanding access to early childhood education, supporting educator effectiveness, and engaging parents in the educational process. Known for her personable style and unwavering commitment to students, Dr. Knight-Burney has successfully spearheaded various initiatives including, but not limited to restoring full-day kindergarten, developing the district’s first blended Cyber Learning School, and launching a STEM/STEAM education division, as well as an innovative, standards-aligned Aquaponics and “School to Table” program in partnership with Zoetic Global and The WheelHouse. As a lifelong educator and leader, Dr. Knight-Burney aims to empower all students to become high academic achievers and lifelong learners.

Dr. Knight-Burney has previous experience as a classroom teacher, Department Chair, Assistant Principal and Principal. Prior to her appointment as Superintendent, Dr. Knight-Burney served as the Acting Superintendent and Assistant Superintendent for the District’s Division of Student, Family & Community Support Services. She also served as a supervisory instructor at Harvard University, an adjunct instructor at Lesley University and Framingham State University, and in principal leadership roles at the historic Rindge and Latin School and the Agassiz School in Cambridge, MA.

As Superintendent, Dr. Knight-Burney believes that highly skilled and passionate school leadership is the key to academic achievement, educational equity and school transformation. To this end, she has developed the Teacher Leadership Academy, which provides group learning experiences, resources and support for teacher leaders who are committed to improving the performance of all learners within the systems they work; the Summer Leadership Academy, which is a week-long leadership training that builds professional capacity of administrators and instructional leaders; and the Aspiring Urban Leaders Program, a partnership between Harrisburg School District and Shippensburg University, which seeks visionary, entrepreneurial and passionate leaders who are eager to assume educational administrative leadership roles to dramatically improve outcomes for students, families and schools in Harrisburg.

Dr. Knight-Burney serves as Vice President of the Pennsylvania League of Urban School Superintendents, and is a thought-leader and national speaker for the American Association of School Administrators. She is a member of the Pennsylvania Association of School Administrators (PASA) and their Education Research Symposium Committee, which features the latest research of the PASA Research Fellows and doctoral students in Pennsylvania education leadership programs. In collaboration with superintendents from across the state, Dr. Knight-Burney serves as part of the Pennsylvania Department of Education -- Superintendent's Academy. The first-of-its-kind, the Superintendent’s Academy includes district leaders serving in high poverty areas, urban and rural, and is a central component of Governor Wolf’s vision of equity and Secretary of Education Pedro A. Rivera's Poverty and Student Achievement Initiative.

Dr. Knight-Burney has received recognition for her professional work and contribution to education from various organizations and groups, including the prestigious “Golden Apple Teacher” award from the state of Florida. Dr. Knight- Burney received her Doctorate in Education from Nova Southeastern University, a Master’s of Science degree from Nova University and a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts degree from Howard University.

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