Dr . Patterson

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Dr . Patterson

Traveling the dirt roads through the gentle hills and pastureland of Hamilton County, the school superintendent visited more than 30 rural schools, often bringing his son along.

Watching his father Bert Patterson, Hamilton County superintendent in the 1940s, young Charles Patterson saw the impact that educators have on children, families and communities.

Charles Patterson was not yet a certified teacher when someone convinced him to go to Killeen to get a job because teachers were desperately needed as the area's military community developed.

He started his education career in 1958 teaching the sixth grade at the Avenue D School in Killeen. To this day, Patterson shakes his head when he considers his lack of experience when he started on the path of a career educator.

From teaching, he moved to assistant principal and then principal of Killeen High School, where he served from 1966 to 1970 and then on to assistant superintendent, deputy superintendent and superintendent of the Killeen Independent School District. He held the top post from 1988 to 2004.

Just five years into retirement and still active in serving military students at the national level, Patterson marveled at the privilege of seeing his name on the side of a new school.

"When you think of schools named for people," he began, before listing C.E. Ellison, Lee Peebles, Clarke and Duncan. "They formed this community," he said. "I don't get close to that."

To be alive and active and to see his own children and grandchildren savor the birth of Charles E. Patterson Middle School made the honor even more special.

 While the retired superintendent continues to stay busy sharing his knowledge with educators and policy makers about the needs of military children, Patterson said he looked forward to getting involved in the life of Patterson Middle School.

 Looking back, Patterson said school for him was a fun time of making friends and learning where caring adults provided great support. He said he hoped the faculty of Patterson Middle School would fashion a culture to provide that same kind of experience for future generations.

 During his career in Killeen ISD, Patterson said he grew to understand powerfully the mission to care for the sons and daughters of American soldiers. He also developed a deep respect for the diversity of the region and the commitment of the district employees.

 Often thinking of his time of service to students as a journey, Patterson said it was the challenges of the tragic shootings at Luby's Cafeteria in 1991 and the Gulf War and other military commitments that crystallized the resilience of the Killeen community.

While the community continues to serve in a stressful time of war, Patterson said it was a previous generation that led the Killeen area through integration, leading the way in guiding America through that tumultuous change.

 From those early days accompanying his father on visits to rural county schools to leading one of the nation's fastest growing school districts, Patterson's name is inscribed in the history of Killeen.

 Looking forward to the day Patterson Middle School would open, the school's namesake said he was grateful, blessed, honored and humbled.