Patterson: A love for life-long learning

Editor’s note: October is National Principals Month. The Pee Dee Post will publish profiles on each of the county’s 16 school principals as submitted by Richmond County Schools during the month.
Jamie Greene
Yvonne Gilmer
Ellen Mabe
Joyce McRae
Hal Shuler
Angela Watkins
Dawn Terry

By Mallory Brown
Special to The Pee Dee Post

Ninth Grade Academy Principal Pam Patterson said her passion has always been in working with young people.

Now in her second year at the school, the Richmond County native knew early on that she wanted to be both a teacher and a leader.

“I enjoy the teaching and learning process,” she said, “and finding what works for children.”

Pam Patterson

Pam Patterson

As a child, Patterson grew up in the small town of Norman.

“We only had a caution light,” she added.

She attended Sandhills Community College — an experience she said she loved — before taking a break in her college career.

“I was married and had my daughter and then went to Pembroke State University, now UNC-P,” Patterson said. “I completed my bachelor’s degree in biology and science education.”

Shortly afterward, she returned to obtain her master’s degree in science administration with a concentration in chemistry, followed by an administrative degree. Patterson is currently working on her doctorate at East Carolina University.

The Ninth Grade Academy principal said she can remember the first moment she realized she was in the right profession — in a classroom during her early teaching years.

“For most of my teaching career, I taught chemistry,” she said. “Seeing students get excited about learning chemistry, the thing that I was passionate about, was that moment for me.”

Patterson credits one of her own teachers for helping her to find that path.

“My science teacher at Ellerbe Junior High, Mrs. Linda Snead, gave me a passion for science,” she said. “She was a wonderful and passionate teacher.”

She is also thankful for her parents, who played an important role in her success as an administrator.

“My parents, Joe and Juanita Cox, raised me to work hard and do my absolute best,” Patterson said. “They were and still are supportive of my education and career.”

She also mentions her husband and children, who she said have endured and supported all of her life-long learning.

“They really want me to finish this dissertation,” she added.

Over the years, Patterson has taught a combination of biology, science and chemistry at Scotland High School, Ellerbe Middle School and Richmond Senior High School. In July 2010, she moved to Rockingham Middle School where she was the principal for three years before making the transition to the Ninth Grade Academy.

Patterson currently lives in Hamlet with her husband, Rodney. They have two children, Kylee and Bryson.

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