Our Welcome To Sanford Teacher of the Week column this week honors the school district’s Lee County Exceptional Children Educator of Excellence, Jane Patterson of J.R. Ingram Elementary School.
With a background of jobs in accounting, sales and big box store management, it wasn’t until some 14 years ago that Mrs. Patterson got her first taste of the classroom by tutoring at her twin sons’ school, J.R. Ingram. She eventually becoming a lateral entry EC teacher at the same school.
Not long ago – a few days into her 10th full year of teaching exceptional children – Mrs. Patterson received a message that she was needed for a staff meeting. “Of course I went down there, but when I walked in, I just thought they were all there for someone else,” Patterson recalled. Instead, she learned that she’d been named Lee County Schools’ 2018 EC Educator of Excellence. “Anne Sessoms, the district’s assistant EC director, said they had an award to give to an EC teacher and she started reading,” Mrs. Patterson said. “When she got into some of the identifying information I thought ‘oh, it’s me!’ I wasn’t even looking around the room; I was looking down. My eyes were welling up.”
Days later, Mrs. Patterson still isn’t sure what to make of the honor, other than to feel “pretty flattered.” “Last year we started doing an open house for EC classrooms, and it gave us the opportunity to visit other classrooms around the district and see what other teachers are doing,” she said. “When I go into these other classrooms and see all the fantastic, amazing things that are happening – I feel like I’m still learning. I’m feeling pretty humble.”
Lisa Duffy, Ingram’s principal has nothing but praise for Mrs. Patterson. “Jane is an exceptional educator, colleague, and child advocate. She stops at nothing to ensure she is personally doing all that she can to help students and children succeed and she is always willing to offer resources, materials, ideas, or her time to colleagues and parents to help them help children. Jane is a one of a kind teacher and person and Ingram is truly blessed to call her our own.”