Candidate for City Council District 9 - Manhattan
New Leadership To Shift The Narrative In Harlem
Sheba has called Harlem her home since she was ten years old. She left for seven years after her family and she experienced a home invasion. She left because at the time she could not afford the rent in Harlem or buy an affordable home that did not need extensive renovations. Although she moved to a neighboring state to New York, she continued to visit her hometown on a regular basis.
Growing up on the West side of Harlem in the eighties, Sheba witnessed how the crack epidemic changed her community that was once safe and thriving, into a place where families were devastated by addiction and lives changed because of incarceration.
However, through all of the turmoil while a student at Aquinas High School in the Bronx, she held on to the idea that when she grew up that she would help her community. She knew that it was her responsibility to use her knowledge and talents to help others in her neighborhood. At the age of fifteen, she decided to volunteer her time after school at Morningside Day Care Center. While volunteering Sheba realized that she connected to children and enjoyed teaching them. That experience led her to begin a life of public service.
As a mother of three children and a grandmother of five, Sheba knows firsthand how difficult it is to raise a family in the most expensive city in the five boroughs. She has had to make the hard decision to feed her children or pay the rent. She knows the worrying that happens when there is not enough money to cover the cost of all the bills at the first of the month. The stress one feels that they may be evicted because an unforeseen circumstance occurred; and rent money has to be used to pay a medical bill or car repair.
Sheba has worked within the NYCDOE for twenty-one years primarily as a Special Education teacher. She has also been a Dean of Students, a Special Education Coordinator, an IEP teacher and an NYC Men Teach mentor and she is currently a Site Supervisor at a Regional Enrichment Center, ensuring that the first responder has a safe and caring place to take their children while they are working.
When Sheba is asked what has been her best experience as an educator for the past two decades, her answer is always the same; the relationships she has had with her students and families. The acknowledgment that she has made some small difference in her students’ lives either academically or on a personal level is the wind that has kept her going all these years.