Dr. Sybil Knight-Burney
Dr. Sybil Knight-Burney is a transformational educational consultant. She served as Superintendent of the Harrisburg City School District from 2010 to 2019. As Superintendent, Dr. Knight-Burney 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 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 sought 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 Cambridge Rindge and Latin School and the Mariah Baldwin School in Cambridge, MA.
As Superintendent, Dr. Knight-Burney believed that highly skilled and passionate school leadership is the key to academic achievement, educational equity and school transformation. To this end, she developed the Teacher Leadership Academy, which provided group learning experiences, resources and support for teacher leaders who were committed to improving the performance of all learners within the systems they worked; the Summer Leadership Academy, which was a week-long leadership training that built the professional capacity of administrators and instructional leaders; and the Aspiring Urban Leaders Program, a partnership between Harrisburg School District and Shippensburg University, which sought visionary, entrepreneurial and passionate leaders who were eager to assume educational administrative leadership roles to dramatically improve outcomes for students, families and schools in Harrisburg. Her work has been featured in several journals and books.
Dr. Knight-Burney served as President and Vice President of the Pennsylvania League of Urban School Superintendents, and as a thought-leader and national speaker for the American Association of School Administrators. She was a member of the Pennsylvania Association of School Administrators (PASA) and their Education Research Symposium Committee, which featured 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 was a selected member of the Pennsylvania Department of Education -- Superintendent's Academy. The first-of-its-kind, the Superintendent’s Academy included district leaders serving in high poverty areas, urban and rural, and was a central component of Governor Wolf’s vision of equity and Secretary of Education Pedro A. Rivera's Poverty and Student Achievement Initiative. She was also selected in the first cohort of the Southern Education Foundation’s Racial Equity Leadership Network. She was trained as an equity facilitator and created an Equity Team that provided professional development and conversations district-wide about race, equity and diversity among staff and students.
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. She is an active member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated and serves on the National Program, Planning and Development Committee as the chair of the Risk Management sub-committee, and the National Grow with Google Training Team. She currently serves as Vice President of Membership of the Harrisburg (PA) Chapter of the Links, Incorporated and Facet chair for Services to Youth.
Currently, as a consultant, she works with educational systems to diversify and maintain their workforce and to create equitable and inclusive environments.