Bro. Roland N. Patterson (1929 - 1982)

posted Mar 12, 2015, 3:35 PM by Seattle Alphas

Dr. Rolland N. Patterson is a native of Washington D.C. and earned his B.A degree from New York University and his master’s and doctorates from Columbia University.  He began his teaching career in Seattle in 1952, later taught and was a vice-principal and principal in Montclair, N.J.  He later returned to Seattle in 1968 as principal at Meany Junior High school.

In 1969 Dr. Patterson was appointed by the Seattle School District to the new post of Central Area School Administrator, becoming its first Black Assistant Superintendent.  The position was created in response to threatened legal action by the NAACP for school desegregation and highlighted a community-based, black controlled approach to education.  Dr. Patterson developed and the School Board adopted the Middle School Desegregation Plan on November 11, 1970, in the first phase of a three-phase effort to desegregate the city by 1973.

In 1971, Dr. Patterson was appointed the 1st Black Superintendent of the Baltimore School District.  Notorious for his no-nonsense approach, Dr. Patterson’s forceful leadership style while reorganizing the school district raised many eyebrows and by 1975 was forced out of his position.  To his credit Dr. Patterson was ahead of his time with his vision of the district and years later many have come to revere his time as Superintendent.  Today, Patterson  Sr. Academy in Baltimore and PS 230 - Dr. Roland N Patterson School in New York City bear his name. He is survived by his wife, Marion Patterson; a son, Roland Jr., and a daughter, Doris Patterson, all of Baltimore.