Honoree Profile

Bio for Lana J. Patterson

We are from a place where excellence is commended, not envied, brilliance is embraced and distinction honored. As Jamaican Nationals, we stand proud. But more importantly, as students from a school with a long legacy of unstoppable excellence, we are always honored by the achievement of those who passed through the gates of our great Alma Mater- Titchfield High School.

Mrs. Lana J. Patterson, one of our own past students and teachers. Lana’s outstanding accomplishment in the field of education stands as a testament of the legacy our school has established over the years.

Our distinguished honoree was born to the late Charles and Joyce Adams in the small district of Toms Hope, Portland. The first of six children, Lana grew up in a home where education was of paramount importance, as her mother was a notable teacher. From an early age Lana displayed great leadership skills which were first acknowledged by her kindergarten teacher, Ms. Vassell who appointed her class four helper at Port Antonio Infant School. Ironically, it was Ms. Vasell, and not her mother, who influenced Lana’s professional choice of becoming a teacher.

Another influential person who guided her educational path during early childhood was her primary school teacher the late Mrs. Ivy Townsend. Under the dynamic tutelage of Mrs. Townsend, Lana was successful in her first attempt at the Common Entrance Examination, thus gaining acceptance to the prestigious Titchfield High School. Mrs. Townsend’s dedication to her students and love of teaching left an indelible impression on Lana, hence her determination on becoming a protégé of Mrs. Townsend. Along the way there were others who continued to leave an impression on Lana. Mrs. Hyacinth Rhodd’s organized approach and delivery of Home Economics lessons and Mrs. Millwood’s exceptional skills as a math teacher blazed a trail for Lana to emulate and she certainly did!

As a student at Titchfield, Lana was an active participant in many aspects of the school community, but stood out most profoundly as a netballer. She was a member of the Plant House team and helped them capture the netball trophy on many occasions. She was also an aggressive player for her form team and served on the school team, even though her religious conviction prevented her from playing on Saturdays when the team travelled to other locations. In addition, Lana was also a very active participant in Eisteddfod, where she performed piano recitals and displayed other aesthetic qualities. She also worked assiduously on the PTA as Entertainment Coordinator for the many Easter fairs the PTA sponsored.

Lana’s 38 years of teaching began immediately after graduating fifth form. Her first position was as a pre-train teacher. For four years she trudged through the Rio Grande Valley to gain valued practice at Moore Town All-Age School. This experience further underscored her desire to become a teacher, thus propelling her to formal training at St. Joseph’s Teachers’ College. Since migrating to South Florida Lana upgraded her qualifications at Florida Atlantic University.

 Upon graduation from St. Joseph’s, Lana began her professional career at Titchfield High School, where she taught Mathematics from first to fifth form. However, since she was the Mathematics Coordinator for the Lower School, she focused mainly on first to third form.  As a senior teacher and grade supervisor Lana was influential in shaping the lives of many of her students and promoted many innovative approach to the teaching of mathematics at the school. As a teacher, Lana’s involvement was not limited to the classroom but included her committed involvement in her church. 

For Lana, mathematics is everywhere, so she spends time immersing her students in this principle. For example, she makes it known to them that the letter X represents vertical angles, and the number of feet you walk or run each day is distance- and that means MATH. To her Math is simply listening and following directions. With these philosophies, Lana convinces her students to change their attitude towards math from negative to positive and the end results are stunning.

Lana’s success as one of the most acclaimed math teachers in both Jamaica and the USA is accentuated by several factors. Firstly, she takes a personal interest in each student and believes the road to success is dedication. Secondly, she fosters a classroom environment that builds confidence and encourages her students to try and try again until they achieve success. Additionally, Lana always takes time to say something positive to each student, even to the ones who demonstrate very little interest in learning Math. Besides building confidence in her students, Lana works hard at preparing her lesson plans and grading mountains of papers weekly. 

Since her days of teaching at Titchfield High School, Lana has demonstrated a propensity for excellence. While there, she was recognized as the Junior Teacher of the Year for Portland by the Kiwanis Club of Portland. This was especially humbling for her, since Mrs. Townsend, whom she revered, was also honored as the Senior Teacher of the Year at that same event. 

Numerous other awards and recognitions would follow. These include a Sun Sentinel feature story in 2005 that highlighted the high FCAT scores of the students she taught. These scores showed that Lana was among the top performing math teachers in Broward County. 

Her trail of subsequent distinctive accomplishments includes:-
 2007-2008 D.J. McVis Teacher of Excellence
 2008-2009 Nominee for Broward County Mathematics Teacher of the Year
 2012-2013 Ranked in the top one percent of teachers in the state of Florida.
 2013-2014 Nominee for Broward County Mathematics Teacher of the Year
 2013-2014 William Dandy Middle School Teacher of the Year
 2014-2015 Broward County Mathematics Teacher of the Year
 2016 - High Impact teacher for the state of Florida. This recognition is especially important to Lana, since there are 182,000 teachers in the state of Florida, yet less than 10% are considered high impact teachers. This is clear evidence that our Mrs. Lana Patterson is among the elite when it comes to educating students.