Kevin Patterson judges his success by how well others achieve.
“In education, we cannot rely on the 80-20 rule, which states 20 percent of your people will lead to 80 percent of the success. We must strive for all our staff being successful,” says Patterson, superintendent of the Ozark R-6 School District. “Who would want to have that teacher who is not successful for their children? I think that my influence as the superintendent starts with creating an environment that strives for continual improvement.”
Following graduation from Southwest Baptist University, Patterson began his teaching career in Ozark, where he also coached. He rose through the administrative ranks as assistant principal at Ozark High School, principal at Ozark Junior High School and then both associate and assistant superintendent for the district before assuming his current position last year.
Along the way, Patterson earned a master’s degree and educational specialist degree from Missouri State University and his doctorate from Saint Louis University.
He leads a district with 5,400 students, about 800 employees and a graduation rate above 95 percent. Patterson worked with the school board to develop a new mission statement, and a new teacher evaluation system for certified staff also was approved requiring 12 professional development hours and encouraging more.
Patterson calls the establishment of Ozark High School as a “comprehensive” institution a work in progress of which he is especially proud, because it seeks to give graduates next-step opportunities.
“The reason we define it as a comprehensive high school is based on our students having many different career building choices,” he says. “In the last five years, we have added several vocational choices to our curriculum and purchased a car dealership to help achieve this goal.”
The district offers automobile technology, carpentry, pre-engineering, agriculture and commercial restaurant training. Many students are headed to college, and some of the district’s programs work with area universities, including the Richwood Valley campus of Ozarks Technical Community College.
“Our students can graduate ... with as many as 24 hours of college credits while actually sitting in college classes,” Patterson says. “Last year, we had approximately 150 students attend class at OTC and receive 1,230 hours toward their respective degree programs.”
Patterson believes in continual growth and improvement. A few years ago, the district began focusing on each child and how a shift in teaching techniques can provide the best opportunity for both teachers and students.
“We started with a literacy model that forced our teachers to really focus on individual student literacy and make today’s learning decide tomorrow’s lesson,” he says.
Within the community, Patterson is involved with Care to Learn, which seeks to provide for students’ basic needs in health, hunger and hygiene; more than 200 Ozark students each week benefit from the organization’s backpacks filled with food and hygiene products. He also is a member of Ozark Rotary Club, Ozark Chamber of Commerce and First Baptist Church of Ozark.[[In-content Ad]]