Former Bibb Schools superintendent Sharon Patterson dies

MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Former Bibb County Schools superintendent Sharon Patterson died Tuesday afternoon from an arterial aneurysm, according to district spokeswoman Stephanie Hartley.
Former Superintendent Sharon Patterson retired from the Bibb County School District after serving as superintendent from February 1, 2000 to February 26, 2010.  Prior to that, she was interim superintendent from June 1, 1999 to January 31, 2000. She joined the district in 1997 as Assistant Superintendent for Special Projects.
Patterson was nominated in 2006 as one of four finalists for national superintendent of the year, after earning the state title in December 2005. 
Superintendent Curtis Jones has requested that, in honor of her service, flags around the school district be lowered to half-staff until her funeral.
There’s no word on arrangements.
Patterson told 41NBC News in an exit interview in 2010, “I’ve been fearless in my dedication to make this school system a better place, and I’ve had no regrets about what we’ve done.”

Tommy Barnes, who served as a school board member during Patterson’s time as superintendent, remembers a conversation he had with Patterson after the 2008 Mother’s Day tornadoes.

“She called me that morning and she said, ‘We have to have school,’ and I said, ‘Why? We’ve just had this devastation,'” Barnes says. “And she said, ‘If we don’t have school, most of my kids won’t eat.’ That’s just one of the many examples I think of on this day in her dedication to the students and the people of Bibb County.”

NEWS RELEASE FROM BIBB COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT

FORMER BIBB SCHOOLS SUPERINTENDENT SHARON PATTERSON PASSES AWAY 

(MACON, GA) – The Bibb County School District is saddened to announce that former Superintendent of Schools Sharon Patterson died on January 5, 2016.

Mrs. Patterson was Superintendent of the Bibb County School District from February 1, 2000 until February 26, 2010. She was named the state’s Superintendent of the Year in 2005 and received praise for helping the school district gain fiscal independence. She was one of four state finalists for the 2006 National Superintendent of the Year.

“Mrs. Patterson was an exceptional educator and dedicated herself fully to improving education in Bibb County. I met Sharon in 2005 and came to know her as a professional colleague and personal friend. I remember when we decided to become a Race to the Top district in Griffin-Spalding. One of the reasons we decided to make the effort was because Sharon was doing the same in Bibb. Since becoming superintendent in Bibb, she was always open and willing to share with me insights and words of encouragement. I will miss her,” said Superintendent Dr. Curtis L. Jones Jr.

“This is a tremendous loss of a close friend and professional colleague. I worked with Sharon Patterson from the start of her time in Bibb County under Dr. Gene Buinger and even more closely after she appointed me Chief Deputy Superintendent in 2001. Sharon truly was concerned about the welfare of all children and worked hard to provide them with what they should have – a quality education. As Superintendent, she built an infrastructure for schools and put in place processes for teaching and learning. She served as an unselfish leader and the value of her legacy will unfold in years to come,” said Sylvia McGee, retired Chief Deputy Superintendent.

Mrs. Patterson had more than 40 years of leadership experience in public education as a teacher, principal and system administrator. During her tenure with the Bibb County School District, she served as Interim Superintendent from June 1, 1999 until January 31, 2000. She was hired as Assistant Superintendent for Special Projects in 1997 by then Superintendent Dr. Gene Buinger.

Prior to her arrival in Bibb County in 1997, Mrs. Patterson held leadership positions in the Chapel Hill, North Carolina area and in metropolitan Atlanta, where she worked for 20 years. While a principal at East Cobb Middle School, the school was named both a Georgia and a Blue Ribbon National School of Excellence. Mrs. Patterson attracted statewide recognition for her leadership role in promoting student academic achievement through systemic change. She served on the Executive Committee and the Coordinating Board of the Georgia Leadership Institute for School Improvement (GLISI). The public/private partnership provides unique leadership development programs that blend best practices from business and education.

She received numerous awards for her service. She was named the American Cancer Society 2008 Superintendent of the Year for the South Atlantic Region-Relay for Life and the 2005 Georgia Superintendent of the Year. She received the 2005 Georgia School Superintendents Association Bill Barr Leadership Award, the National Award of Merit from Boys and Girls Club of America for her community service, and the Woman of Achievement – Career Women’s Network and the Circle of Friends Award from the American Cancer Society for outstanding service.

Mrs. Patterson was actively involved with Macon Economic Development Commission and was the first Bibb County Superintendent to serve on the Commission. Mrs. Patterson served as 2006-2007 President of the Executive Board of Urban Superintendents Association of America. She also served on several other boards such as Greater Macon Chamber of Commerce, Georgia Leadership for School Improvement (GLISI) – Advisory Board, the Macon-Bibb County Health Department, American Cancer Society and Tubman African American Museum, and was a trustee at the Macon Museum of Arts and Sciences.

Mrs. Patterson held degrees from the University of Missouri in Columbia and the University of Missouri in St Louis. She had a Specialist Degree from the State University of West Georgia.

She is survived by a son, Brian; his wife, Amanda; and her two grandchildren, Vance and Anna. She was preceded in death by her husband, Ernest Richard Patterson, who died November 5, 2015. Funeral arrangements have not been scheduled at this time.

Categories: Bibb County, Local News

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