HARTFORD – Early in her adulthood, Patricia Mann worked as a programmer at Hartford for 14 years.
The insurer offered her the job right out of South Carolina State University with a computer science degree, and she loved it.
âI was comfortable with what I did,â Mann said Wednesday.
But Mann, 48, is also a human person – a caring woman with a bright smile and the organizational skills of an event planner. For years she was curious about the teaching profession, even though “when you’re in your own career you don’t have a lot of time to explore,” she said.
Mann found the time. After becoming a teacher in 2000, Mann is now the 2013 Connecticut Technical High School System Teacher of the Year.
A central office committee selected Mann, an instructor at AI Prince Technical High School in Hartford, from the 16 finalists who were the respective teachers of the year in state technical high schools, officials said this week. school.
Mann heads Prince Tech’s information systems technology department, where students learn trades such as computer programming, networking, hardware, web design, graphics, and desktop publishing. In addition to being a classroom teacher, said principal William Chaffin, Mann is involved in professional development, staff mentorship and school committees. She hosted last week’s graduation ceremony.
For five years, Mann even coached the school’s cheerleaders.
âAt the end of the day, the most important thing is that the students like it,â Chaffin said. “They know she has high expectations for themâ¦ But at the same time, she supports them and designs things so that they can meet those standards.”
Mann runs his classroom like a professional office. There are casual Fridays and independent projects for the elderly, who need to meet their deadlines and make an appointment to meet with Mann if any issues arise. Mann also teaches Adobe software, such as Photoshop, to a group of juniors who are now on summer vacation.
When students have personal issues, Mann listens to them.
âThe kids are great,â Mann said. “They just need boundaries and structure … I try to help them navigate their lives and make better choices.”
Some students got it wrong and called her “Mom”.
At home in Bloomfield, she and her husband, Hartford firefighter Henry Mann, are foster parents to a 13-year-old boy who has lived with them for four years. The Manns have taken in six children over the past 12 years. “It’s tough but it’s worth it,” said Patricia Mann.
Mann also enjoys home improvement, motorcycles and “fast cars”.
âIf I’m in a pool, I don’t dip my toes in it,â she said. “I jump in.”
Mann believes that feeling of aggression has helped his career. The New York native arrived in Connecticut more than two decades ago after graduating from college in South Carolina. While at Hartford, she took advantage of a company program that subsidized the tuition fees of employees who wished to continue their education.
“Something deep inside kept saying, ‘Go get your Masters in Education,'” Mann remembers. She enrolled at Cambridge College in Massachusetts, where she drove after work for classes. Mann graduated with this master’s degree in 1996, a year and a half after his debut.
After the master’s program, Mann continued to work at Hartford. Then one day, she said, she opened the newspaper and saw an ad for a teaching seminar in Windsor. She attended in 1999 and made some connections with school systems.
The following year, October 2000, Mann joined the staff of Prince Tech.
The first time she walked into a classroom, Mann said, âI knew that was itâ¦ that’s who I am. That’s my goalâ¦ It was like everything was aligned and it ‘was meant to be. “