Knowing Knovation: How a former Superintendent uses her rock star drive to help kids across the nation

Meet Patty Blake!

Patty's picture for blog 1Patty Blake – Content Manager at Knovation 

It’s not every day that you get to visit with a former superintendent and understand what makes them tick, what inspired them, and how their love for teaching continues–even after they leave their districts.

We had a chance to meet up with Patty Blake, former English teacher, high school assistant principal, middle school principal, assistant superintendent and lastly, superintendent of New Miami Local School District. Patty recently turned in her “cap and gown” and headed in a somewhat different career path by joining Knovation there months ago as a Content Manager –not a role many superintendents would consider after leading school districts for 15 years–but one that Patty chose as her way of staying connected to helping kids, inside and outside of the classroom.

From walking the halls of schools in Oak Hills, Hamilton, Three Rivers and New Miami, to watching the Walking Dead on Sunday evenings, take a sneak peek at Patty and you see how her passion for life and her love for kids gets translated into the work she does!

1)   Where is your hometown? I am from Cincinnati, specifically the Westside for all the readers from Cincinnati.

2)   What is your alma mater? I received my undergraduate degree from the College of Mount Saint Joseph and my graduate degree from Xavier University. Currently, I am pursuing my doctorate in Organizational Leadership at Xavier University.

3)   What was your dream job growing up? My dream job was somewhere between being a teacher and being a rock star.  I decided to go with the one I actually had a talent for doing, teaching!

4)   What attracted you to the education industry? Teaching runs in my family. My oldest sister was a professor at the University of Notre Dame. I also have two nieces and four cousins who are teachers. Because of family ties to education and my love for children, I became an English teacher before becoming an administrator. I taught 7th grade at Our Lady of Visitation and then taught English at Northwest High School, for a combined 6 years, then became a high school and middle school administrator for 10 years. Then I was an assistant superintendent and superintendent for a combined 5 years. Even my husband is a teacher! Now, my oldest son is in the teacher academy at his high school.

5)   Describe your role within the organization. My job title and my role don’t necessarily align- my job title is Content Manager, but I see my role as so much bigger than that. At Knovation, we help teachers find online resources they can trust and help them easily manage the wealth of content available to them. I spend my days searching and reviewing the best online resources for teachers and students to use. We have a rigorous 127-point certification process that every resource has to go through before it can be added to our content library.

Additionally, I have the pleasure of customizing digital curriculum for school districts. Since all resources we offer are standards-aligned, we can easily help a school or district finds the resources they need and organize these resources according to their curriculum maps so teachers have a consistent and rigorous foundation to start. As a former superintendent, I know how important it is to get teachers and students what they need so they can meet the demands and challenges of a changing world.

6)   Can you describe your role in identifying digital resources? I bring my experience as a former teacher and superintendent to help ensure we are delivering meaningful content to your schools and classrooms. My specific role is about giving feedback to keep the resources fresh and relevant. It is critical that teachers and students know that the resources they access are current, reliable and engaging.

7)  What is your favorite part about working with school districts? My favorite part about working with school districts is knowing that what we do saves teachers time and helps kids find the right resources, so they can get more engaged in learning. I’ve spent my entire career with the goal of inspiring kids to learn. At Knovation, we truly deliver resources that make learning that makes sense for all types of students. Whether they want to learn by watching a video, playing a game or actually reading an article, we select resources that kids can understand.

8)  What was the biggest change between being a teacher to being a Superintendent? Which did you like the best? I have never stopped being a teacher, but my classroom and students have changed. I made the switch to administration because I wanted to support teachers as well as students. As a Superintendent, one supports and leads many areas that are outside of the boundaries of teaching and learning. A superintendent holds the ultimate accountability for every stakeholder in the district. It is a 24 hour a day job, especially when there is snow! Asking me which role I like best is like asking me to tell you which one is my favorite child out of three. I love them all!

9)   What has been your proudest moment at Knovation? Well… with my short run here so far, my proudest “academic” moment would have to be when my coworkers made me a certificate when I was given the “rights” to publish evaluations. Yes, it is hanging up proudly near my computer! I have had a few other “athletic” victories here playing the office 4-square game, but I believe some of the plays were contested and are still under review.

10)   What are your favorite hobbies and outside interests? I love attending my children’s sporting and theater events. My husband and I enjoy weight training and going to see the latest scary movie. I am also a pretty big Walking Dead fan!

We’ll continue to feature more employees in upcoming blog posts, so be sure to check back and learn more about the people behind Knovation.

Interested in connecting with Patty? You can email her at pblake@knovationlearning.com.