Why did you decide to attend UW-Parkside?

Proximity to home and affordability. My husband and I with our three young children (9mos, 3, 5) moved to Kenosha in August of 1976. I started my classes in the fall of that year taking night and summer classes for the next four with graduation in December 1980. 

What activities were you involved in at UW-Parkside?

I did not have a lot of discretionary time during my undergrad studies. Our three children keep me very busy. I usually got up at 5:00 am to do my homework.  

How did your UW-Parkside experience impact your professional or personal life?

It set me on the path to the field of Education and beyond. When I look at the last draft of my resume and my transcripts, I see so clearly that the course work I took enabled me to take steps in leadership positions I had never dreamed.  

What has been one of the top highlights of your career?

Working with the Construction of a middle school. Purchasing the contents of a new school. Hiring and integrating staff from other schools to work to build a place and culture that is best for students first.  

Who has had the biggest influence on your life or your career and why?

My Husband. He is always my champion. No whining, no nonsense. You can do this. How can I help? Whether it was the challenge of having children at a very young age, working on my undergrad and graduate degrees, or dealing with Multiple Sclerosis. 

What is your favorite inspirational quote? 

“Kindred spirits are not so scarce as I used to think. It’s splendid to find out there are so many in the world.” Lucy Montgomery. 

What is something that would surprise us about you?

I am a shy person who has had to overcome this trait. 

What advice do you have for current UW-Parkside Students?

Get up. Take one step, one day. one course. Everyday.  

 You will meet your goal. 

In 1976, Patricia Heller embarked on an extraordinary journey at UW-Parkside, where her determination and resilience carved a path to remarkable achievements. Balancing the roles of a devoted wife, mother, and student, Patricia exemplified the true spirit of perseverance. 

Her undergraduate years were a testament to her unwavering commitment, juggling coursework with the joys and challenges of family life. Patricia's days were a whirlwind of classes, parenting duties, and community engagements, often bringing her children along to her campus adventures. 

In 1980, Patricia graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology and Wisconsin Teaching Credentials, laying the foundation for her illustrious career in education. But her thirst for knowledge didn't stop there. 

Fueled by a passion for empowering students, Patricia pursued higher education, earning a master's degree in education from Carthage College in 1985, followed by certification in Special Education and K-12 Administration from prestigious institutions. 

Patricia's professional journey is marked by remarkable leadership roles, including serving as Middle School Principal at Lake Denoon and Oconomowoc Middle Schools, where she spearheaded transformative initiatives and nurtured a culture of academic excellence. 

Beyond the realm of education, Patricia's altruistic spirit shines through her extensive volunteer work, from fundraising for Multiple Sclerosis research to lending a helping hand to local charities and community organizations. 

Her dedication extends beyond the professional realm, weaving a tapestry of compassion, creativity, and service to others. From knitting for charity to painting watercolors for MS research, Patricia's contributions resonate far and wide, leaving an indelible mark on those she touches.

Elderly caucasian woman with graying blonde hair
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