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Teacher in the Spotlight: STEM Specialist at Artondale Elementary School

Patricia C. Verdella Keenan, MEd



Patricia Verdella Keenan from Artondale Elementary School

 

By Rachel Kelly


Teaching is Patricia C. Verdella Keenan’s second calling. Her first was with the Air Force; she separated from active duty after the birth of her second child. It was suggested to her that she might make a good teacher, and out of interest in elementary education because of her own children, she enrolled in a course from Pierce College. She found the subject fascinating, so she kept going. After moving to North Carolina, she got her master’s from Campbell University — and the rest is history.

 

Today she is a K-5 STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) Specialist at Artondale Elementary School, where she has been for the last 10 years. Overall, Patricia has been teaching for 22 years. Over that period, she has taught many subjects and grades including kindergarten, fourth grade, science and computer lab, ELA, health and home arts, often while serving in the Air Force reserves. She has also taught technology courses to teacher candidates at Western Washington University and consults with curriculum developers to align elementary science assessments with our Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). In other words, she has some pretty incredible experience that allows her to teach at all levels.

 

Teaching has inspired and increased Patricia’s love for learning. She has enjoyed watching her students take up challenges and solve problems. In STEM, especially, there is a real end product, a problem or a machine that produces instantaneous results. When making a battery, it lights up. When one student finds a way to build one, they all shout for joy and share their success. When presented with another challenge, such as a wire removed, sure enough the student will navigate a new solution. Patricia gets to share in that discovery, perseverance and resilience — and for her that is what is most rewarding about her career.


Teaching STEM allows her to be a part of a growing learning community, not just with her students but also their parents, other STEM specialists and her fellow teachers. “We really can’t do all these amazing things without the support of the parents and our entire community. The saying, ‘It takes a village’ is so true … and it brings me great joy to be a small part of it all,” says Patricia.


We love being a part of your greater community too, Patricia, and are excited for what your students will discover next! Thank you for all you do.


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