Tell us about your journey from humble beginnings of the education company to growing with over 700 offices
I am from a small town in Staten Island, NY. It was a lower middle class working community. My parents worked very hard for me to attend a private high school, considered one of the best on Staten Island. I was so excited about this opportunity.
It would be my ticket to attend college and realize my dream of being a teacher. I would be the first in my family to attend college.
Imagine the shock when I met with my Guidance Counselor, who told me that I should be a secretary. Nothing wrong with being a secretary, but it wasn’t for me. My counselor thought the classes I would need to take for college would be too difficult. It was hard for me to accept since I had graduated top of my 8th grade class and even received the math award. I had such determination to be a teacher, nothing was going to stand in my way. I made sure I took the classes I needed to go to college.
What influenced your teaching approach?
I graduated from the university in 3 years, went to grad school, but I never forgot how it felt to have someone not believe in me. I am sure my experience impacted my approach to teaching. It is so simple, but so deep. High Expectation + Respect = Success!
The children in my class not only did well academically, they built self-confidence that carried over in all aspect of their lives. Parents would tell me how their child would try new things they never would have considered.
Why did you start your own education company?
I wanted to reach more children with my methodology. In 1991, my husband invited me to go with him to a computer show. I went from booth to booth and everything was geared for the business world. I know it is hard to imagine, but I saw for the first time colored graphics, animations and got so excited. I saw the technology not for the business world, but for teaching children. I realized that the computer incorporates the 3 main learning senses…see, hear, touch. I knew if I could design a program integrating my approach with the technology, it would be a powerful learning environment.
That spring when I received the teaching contract for the upcoming school year, I decided not to sign it. Instead I wrote a letter of resignation. My administrator immediately came to my classroom, handed me my resignation letter, and told me to rethink what I was doing. I was told by friends and family that technology was a fad and I have to be crazy to give up the security of teaching and tenure. Just like the determination when I was in high school to take the courses I needed to go to college, I had the same determination to start my own Education Company with a passion to reach more children.
What is your market?
We developed a STEM and Literacy program and co-branded it Discovery Kids, working with Discovery Communications. We licensed our program to small business owners for their learning centers and to schools. We reached tens of thousands of children with our program and it is still being used in many locations, including low income schools through our Foundation.
I think for me the greatest feeling is when I meet now young adults who tell me because of our program and our belief in their ability, they have succeeded.
Ms. Patterson what advice do you have for young people who want to follow your footsteps.
Follow your passion and believe in yourself. My young students would recite each day, “I can do anything, if I put my mind to it.” Try saying that to yourself each day. You will do amazing things.
Ms. Patterson, tell us about your tips to live a healthy balance lifestyle with your husband.
I accidentally got involved with Health and Wellness Company through Laura. The products worked and friends wanted to know what I was doing. I started receiving residual income and realized that I can help others live a healthy life style and earn another stream of income.
When Doctors play God and tell You how long you have to Live
I give hope to people who are undergoing terrible illnesses and I am willing to share my story.
I had stage 4 lymphoma cancer and was told I had two years to live when I had three little girls, Laura was 7 at that time. It was my determination to live that I am alive today.