K. Chase Patterson joined PEDC in 2020 and is the Chief Executive Officer of Urban Academy of Greater Pittsburgh and Co-founder of The State of Black Learning Conference. To learn more about his incredible story and efforts please read the interview below.
PEDC’s mission is to increase the diversity of the educator workforce & create a culturally relevant and sustaining education system here in PA. How do you push this work forward in your personal and/or professional capacity?
Have you worked on any projects or initiatives that positively impact the recruiting, mentoring, retaining, or promoting the well-being of BIPOC teachers? If so, how?
I advance PEDC’s mission in my personal and professional capacity by unapologetically centering Black students, Black culture, and Black pride in my organizations. As a result, Blackness is at the forefront of our marketing and hiring practices. Because of the clarity in purpose, we attract candidates who have an alignment with our centering of Blackness. I co-founded the State of Black Learning in 2016 and our mission of State of Black Learning – Pittsburgh (SBL) is to foster dialogue and provide practical tools for all educators (teachers, specialists, principals, administrative assistants, coaches and more) to incorporate sustainable resources into the work they do. Further aiming to cultivate personal and professional development among educators who value knowledge and the enhancement of Black students’ lives.
Why are you passionate about increasing educator diversity?
I am passionate about educator diversity because I believe Black children deserve the opportunity to have their learning experience enriched by someone who looks like them, is more likely to understand their lived experiences, and can anchor and guide them in a culturally connected way as they navigate life and learning.
“Mrs. Joyce Abbott, the inspiration behind ABC's hit sitcom, Abbott Elementary, was a featured speaker during SBL22”
What challenges are you experiencing in this work?
Are there any regional (or statewide) specific challenges you are facing?
What are some of your needs?
The most significant challenge that I am experiencing in this work is the declining rate of interest in the teaching industry, as with most things the impact of this decline is felt more intensely in the Black community. I believe we all need a more strategic push around how we develop the educator pool and incentivize individuals who become educators.
Are you affiliated with any other organizations working towards addressing the recruiting, mentoring, retaining, or promoting the wellbeing of BIPOC teachers?
The Pahara Institute, Black Male Educator Convening (BMEC), National Association of Black Male Educators, The National Charter Collaborative
“The Black Educator Excellence Awards are designed to celebrate Black educators who go above and beyond the call of duty to support and help their students grow”
“This year SBL hosted the Black Educator Excellence Awards Gala at the Lexus Club at PPG Paints Arena”
How can people connect with you and continue to follow your work?
“Patterson is seen here with his son and students from Spellman University and Morehouse College. Cecil Price, on Patterson's left, is an Urban Academy of Greater Pittsburgh Alumni and the Youth Chairman of the State of Black Learning”
Welcome to the PEDC Member Spotlight! This monthly blog series highlights the diverse ways those in our community are progressing towards creating a culturally relevant and sustaining education system here in Pennsylvania.