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Lifelong learning—and leading

A quadruple Viking, Jessica Patti ’08, ’09, ’12G, ’20G dives into her connection with Salem State

Professor Jessica Patti ’08, ’09, ’12G, ’20G has a long history with Salem State. She earned her bachelor’s at the university, stayed to complete her master's in special education, and recently returned to earn her Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study (CAGS) in educational leadership in 2020.

The CAGS program is designed to help professionals advance in their careers. For professor Patti, one of the key advantages was the program’s willingness to accommodate her schedule and needs as a working teacher. “The instructors met us where we were—literally. They came to our school to teach us about what it means to be a leader, how to use data effectively, how to lead adult learning, how to manage budgets, and more.” 

Her connection to the university doesn’t end there: Now she’s a visiting professor teaching at the Salem State McKeown School of Education. “When I first came to Salem State, I had no idea the influence that this school would have on my life,” professor Patti explains. “My professors saw me for who I was and who I could become. I try to carry on that spirit in my own teaching. And if Salem State develops a doctoral program, I will be first in line!”

“As an undergraduate, I remember taking a class on the third floor of Sullivan overlooking the ocean,” she continues. “There’s this magic hour when the sun is setting and you can see it reflected in the ripples of the water and you feel like this is where you were always supposed to be. How wonderful that the first class I ever taught on campus was in that same room.” 

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