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Theresa A. Harris-Tigg, 67, former Buffalo school board member dedicated to education

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Theresa A. Harris-Tigg

Dec. 18, 1954 – Sept. 6, 2022

Theresa A. Harris-Tigg dedicated her life to the education of Buffalo school children, first as a teacher in Buffalo Public Schools, and later as a two-term member of the Buffalo Board of Education representing the East District.

Harris-Tigg not only taught students in the district but, as an assistant professor of English education at SUNY Buffalo State College, she also educated those who would go on to teach children.

Harris-Tigg died Tuesday at her home in Buffalo after an illness. She was 67.

Born Theresa Anne Harris in Buffalo, she was a 1972 graduate of Bennett High School. After high school, Harris-Tigg became a certified medical biller and insurance agent. She went on to earn a business degree from Bryant and Stratton Business Institute before earning a bachelor's degree in English and a permanent New York State teachers certificate in English from D'Youville College in 1991.

Harris-Tigg earned a master's degree in secondary education from Canisius College in 1993 and a doctorate in educational leadership and policy from the University at Buffalo in 2005.

She was fueled by her need to help students learn, according to her son, Marvin Prophet.

"She was a freedom fighter, absolutely. We say she was our superhero," he said.

Harris-Tigg taught English at the elementary, high school and collegiate levels. 

She served two terms on the Buffalo School Board, to which she was first elected in 2013.

While on the board, Harris-Tigg served as vice president of the Student Achievement Committee and liaison with educational partnership organizations that aimed to help struggling schools in the district.

Asked why she sought election to the board in 2013, Harris-Tigg responded: “Essentially, to continue my life work, what I love, helping young people get a good education.”  

Harris-Tigg traveled to Africa several times and wrote a memoir called “Through These Doors.”

Most recently, she taught English and writing to adults who were returning to school at Houghton University's Buffalo location, where she was a professional certified Christian life coach. She also was a professor emeritus at SUNY Buffalo State College.

At an early age, she became a member of Salem United Church of Christ, and she later joined Pilgrim St. Luke’s United Church of Christ, where she worshipped for many years. Eventually, she reunited with her Salem UCC family at New Covenant United Church of Christ, where she participated in the usher ministry, among many other activities, and was ordained as a deacon.

Harris-Tigg is survived by her husband of 37 years, Robert A Tigg III; two sons, Marvin and Jason Prophet; a daughter, Ebony Bullock; two brothers, Nathan and Phillip Harris; 11 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

A memorial service is set for 1 p.m. Saturday in New Covenant UCC, 459 Clinton St.

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