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Mrs. Patterson's Site

Getting to know the Gifted Teacher

Q: So, I know we’ve seen you around Collins for a few years, exactly how long have you been here?
A: I have been the Gifted Teacher/Enrichment Coach at Collins since the fall of 2013. That was an exciting year to come here, as the role of the Gifted Teacher changed at that time. Due to the structural change to the Gifted Teacher position, I was able to begin providing services on a daily basis to students that were identified as gifted, as well as high performing students from 3rd-6th grade that may not have been identified as gifted. During daily Literacy and Math Acceleration Blocks, I have had the chance to provide students with opportunities expanding beyond grade level academic rigor, engage them in rich, complex text and utilize increased depth of knowledge. As the Enrichment Coach for our building, plan time with classroom teachers is built into my schedule to collaborate. The Gifted Teacher/Enrichment Coach Position has been a prime factor is helping me build relationships with so many Collins students and staff members. As I begin my 21st year teaching in District 54, I can honestly say this is my favorite role. I look forward to coming to work everyday!
Q: What did you do before you came to Collins in 2013 as the Gifted Teacher/Enrichment Coach?
A: I began my teaching career at Link Elementary in August of 1999, located only 10 minutes from Collins. During my 14 years there, I taught 3/4 multiage, 4th and 5th grades. It was a difficult decision to leave what had been “home” to me for so long, but my experience and education led me to a different role.
Q: When you refer to your “education” leading you here, what do you mean by that?
A: I consider myself a life-long learner. After completing my undergraduate studies in Elementary Education at Southern Illinois University, I received a Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Concordia University. I continued on to earn my Education Leadership Master’s Degree from National Louis University. Upon completing the Gifted Education Seminar and taking the required test, I became endorsed in Gifted Education for grades K-8. In addition, I have received training at the annual Illinois Association for Gifted Children Convention. I attend professional development opportunities hosted by the IAGC that focus on skills and strategies for integrating creativity and critical thinking into all teaching and learning.  I have also learned so much through my work on the Literacy Task Force, the Innovate 54 Task Force, and as a PBIS Coach for our building for many years.
Q: It sounds like you take your profession very seriously. Any room for fun?
A: Of course, life is about balance! I find mine with my family. My husband Brian and I have two beautiful daughters. Mackenzie is in 7th grade (middle school in her school district!), and Lexie is in 3rd grade. Since both girls play for an elite travel organization, we spend most of our time together on various softball fields in Illinois as well as in the surrounding states.  Brian coaches both girls’ teams, so we eat, breathe and sleep softball! We love to snowboard and also take an annual summer trip to my parents’ in Florida for some R&R. Our spring break trips to sunny Arizona to watch Cubs spring training also give us time to make many memories. When I need that R&R at home, I can be found curled up with a book and our dog, Lu Lu.
Q: When is the best time for a parent to contact you regarding his/her child’s education?
A: There is no time like the present. I can be reached at or 847-357-6126. I will reply as promptly as my schedule permits and look forward to a partnership that helps foster each child’s individual needs.