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Sykes dedicated career to making a difference

In response to the forced retirement of Debra Sykes from the Buffalo Public Schools, never has the district had such a dedicated, smart and forward-thinking visionary in its midst.

Sykes started her career as a mathematics teacher at Grover Cleveland High School. When the director of the Mathematics Department decided to retire, she hand-picked Sykes as her successor because she knew the contributions she could make in the interest of the district’s students.

Through the years, Sykes rose through the ranks from supervisor to director of mathematics, to added responsibilities in the science and technology departments, to assistant superintendent under Folasade Oladele and James Williams, to associate superintendent governing the turnaround schools. Does this sound like an incompetent person?

During these years, Sykes suffered a serious illness that warranted surgery. Convalescing at home, she was but a phone call or email away. She never used her illness as an excuse to shirk her responsibilities. This speaks volumes about the woman’s commitment.

As those in charge deem her as having failed in her performance, perhaps they only have themselves to blame. Responsibility for the district lies among all administrators, not just a few. Being a team player has not been demonstrated by the top brass, especially where there are personal agendas.

Sykes dedicated her career to trying to make a difference by leading and by seeing the big picture. Her efforts have been used against her and she has been wrongly shown the door.

To all those who have known and worked with her through the years and know her to be of integrity and character, shame on you for allowing this travesty to happen.

Ann P. Rossiter

Grand Island