Community searches for answers after Harrisburg superintendent’s departure


HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Dr. Sybil Knight-Burney is leaving her role as the superintendent of Harrisburg School District. She hasn’t given a reason for her departure.

Community members are hoping to get answers at Thursday night’s school board meeting.

“I woke up this morning to a screenshot of an email that Dr. Sybil Knight Burney sent out to central office staff,” said Carrie Fowler, the Harrisburg School Board Director.

ABC27 obtained a copy of that email, which said in part, “As my time as superintendent has come to an end, I am grateful to have had the opportunity to work side by side with you.”

“I’m shocked,” said Fowler. “I’m surprised. I’m hopeful that we can put this chapter behind us and we can move forward and work with Dr. Samuels, who is absolutely putting children first.”

Dr. Janet Samuels is who now has power over the administration, since the state took over the district last week.

The email from Knight-Burney comes the same day the school board is set to review an item called “receiver comprehensive management solution.”

Exactly what that involves hasn’t been released.

Multiple sources tell ABC27 Knight-Burney was working without an approved contract, and was told the district would be relieving her of her duties by the end of the month.

Samuels didn’t respond to our interview request, and the district told us it couldn’t comment on personnel matters.

“In receivership, she has no real function, so I was relieved,” said Jayne Buchwach, the school board director elect. “I was relieved that this is the start of true change.”

ABC27 reached out to Knight-Burney’s attorney but did not hear back.

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