Dr. Patricia Ellis
SHARP Literacy Inc.
Patricia Ellis, at the age of five years old, knew that she wanted to become an educator. In kindergarten she was known as the teacher’s pet and she held that title with much pride. Patricia was strongly encouraged by her mother and great aunt, both of whom are retired school teachers, to pursue nothing less than excellence throughout her life. Education and literacy became her passions.
Today she is at the pinnacle of her career as an accomplished educator with more than 30 years of experience. She is the Vice President of Education for Director of Curriculum and Research at the Student Historical Art Resource Program or (SHARP) Literacy, Incorporated. SHARP Literacy, Incorporated is an educational program that utilizes visual arts as a learning tool to help improve the reading and writing skills of Milwaukee’s most vulnerable children. Patricia uses her expertise in education and literacy to develop grades one through five curriculum and professional development for SHARP, Incorporated.
Patricia was born in Mississippi, but raised in Milwaukee Wisconsin. In 1980, she earned her bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and Communications from Carroll College. This would be the first of several degrees earned. In 1988, she graduated with her first master’s degree in Professional Development. She went on to study Educational Leadership and graduated in 1995, with another master’s degree. Being passionate about education, Patricia continued her studies and in 2001, earned a doctorate degree in Leadership, Learning, and Service. Both the masters’ and the doctorate degrees were earned at Cardinal Stritch University. In 2004, she completed her Superintendency coursework at Cardinal Stritch University.
Within two weeks of graduating in 1980, Patricia worked as a substitute teacher. In the fall of 1980, she became a full time teacher at Ninth Street Elementary School. This was especially meaningful to her because she had attended Ninth Street Elementary School as a kindergartener. After teaching at Ninth Street, she taught at Sholes Middle Street School and she last taught at Clark Street School. While working as a classroom teacher, she also served as an adjunct instructor at Cardinal Stritch College. After 10 years of teaching, she became an administrator for Milwaukee Public Schools in 1993.
As Staff Development Specialist for Milwaukee Public Schools, Patricia was in charge of establishing a resource center that not only provided professional development to teachers and parents, but it also provided services on a multicultural level. Patricia served at various administration positions before becoming the Director of Milwaukee Public Schools at the Office of Academic Excellence in 2004.
In 2005, she became the Associate Vice President of Community Outreach at Cardinal Stritch University and in May 2010, she became the Director of the Milwaukee Summer Reading Project through the Marquette University Institute for the Transformation of Learning.
Patricia has been an adjunct assistant professor at Marquette University since 2009. She served on a variety of art and education boards and committees. She has served on La Causa Charter School Board of Directors and La Causa’s Academic Advisory Council; Literacy Services of Wisconsin, Inc. Board,
St. Aemilian-Lakeside Children’s Art Committee, Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra Board of Directors, the Wisconsin Education Innovations (formerly Sally Ride Academy) Executive Board, and the Metropolitan Milwaukee Alliance of Black School Educators Executive Board. Besides serving on these boards and committees, she is also a member of Delta Sigma Theta, Zeta Xi and currently serves on the Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church Board of Trustees and Alter Guild.
Patricia is very humble about her accomplishments and thanks God for her journey. She has received over 7 distinctions, i.e. Empire Who’s Who Among Executives and Professionals and the Metropolitan Milwaukee Alliance of Black School Educators Sarah Scott Administrator Award, just to name a few. She is an outstanding, passionate and lifelong educator whose contributions in education and literacy are many and this is what makes her a 2013 Black Excellence Award Honoree.