Meet The Educator Changing the Face of Failing Schools in Detroit

Chanivia Patterson

Recognized as a 2017 Michigan Administrator of the Year by Michigan Association of Public School Academies (MAPSA), Chanivia Patterson, principal of Detroit Enterprise Academy moved the school from the bottom 8 in the state to one of the highest performing schools in Detroit.

With over 14 years of experience as a Detroit educator, Patterson attributes her success to a focus on teacher development and coaching, growing leaders from within and developing personalized instruction for students.

Photo Credit: Jeremy Cranford

Now Patterson is on a mission to coach and mentor educators, administrators and parent/caregivers around the world. In the midst of launching her consulting agency Patterson detailed her journey for Black Enterprise

Tell us about your background.

I am a lifelong Detroiter. I served as a middle school teacher right out of college. Within a few years, I was promoted to New Teacher Coach out of a passion for developing new teachers that struggled with classroom management and instructional best practices. Within 2 years of growing teachers in my new teacher coach role, I was asked to open a new school in Detroit and serve as the assistant principal.

After 5 successful years, I was asked to serve as a principal at a low performing school that received media attention as one of the worst schools in the state. I lead the school to become a “beating the odds” school, which is awarded to schools whose academic achievement exceeds expectations. The school was recognized as a 2016 “Reward” school by the State of Michigan for closing the achievement gap of my students in a short amount of time.

I believe in investing in both students and teachers. Beyond academic success, I created a strong positive culture among the staff. The school has been awarded the Employee Engagement Award for having 100% of staff members being Highly Satisfied Leadership fixes failing schools.

report by Dell Technologies and The Institute for the Future, states that 85% of jobs that will exist in 2030 haven’t been invented yet.  How can parents as well as educators equip students for an unknown job market?

By staying abreast on the latest technology and business models. Business models are changing every day and students must be taught multiple ways to be competitive in the next job market. Teaching our students more about entrepreneurship and allowing them to see themselves as the leader in the job market opposed to the next applicant.

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