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Hall of Fame 2012

The late Harriet Gibbons

 

Harriet Gibbons taught music and African-American history in the Albany public schools until 1974, when she was tapped to serve as principal at Street Academy, then Albany’s alternative high school. Gibbons was a beloved leader who was firmly committed to the concept of alternative education and its emphasis on small classes and individualized instruction.

 

In 1979 she resigned her position to become the first African-American woman to head a city agency, the Office of Equal Opportunity, where she was in charge of affirmative action programs. Also that year, she became the first African-American woman elected to the Albany Board of Education.

 

From her city position she went on in 1985 to direct the affirmative action office at the New York State Department of Health. She retired from the health department and the school board in 1989.

 

She suffered a stroke in October 1991 and died the following April from complications. She was

68. In her honor, Street Academy was renamed Harriet Gibbons High School, a name it held from 1992 until it closed in 2010.

 

 

Return to main Hall of Fame 2012 page

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