Academic Advisor at Texas High School 

As a little girl, Patty would “play teacher” with her stuffed animals. Her dad set up a whiteboard and gave her some of his wax pens he used at work so that she would have a “chalkboard” for her stuffed students. Patty always told her parents that she wanted to be a teacher, but she took several business classes in high school and decided to pursue a business degree while in college. However, education was always on her mind. “After spending several years in the business world and having my last child, I decided to listen to my calling and get into the education field. But by this time, I was 37-years-old with three sons. Going back to school to get my teaching certification was not something that I felt I had the time to do,” Patty says. “Someone I knew in Texarkana ISD told me about a job opportunity at Texas High School as an academic advisor. I looked into it and knew immediately this was what God wanted me to do. I interviewed and took the position, and now 20 years later, I am still doing what I love and what I feel I was called to do.” 

Patty is inspired by working with students from all aspects of life and seeing them grow into young adults realizing their dreams or just discovering who they are. “I love working with students that have their plan figured out, but I also get my inspiration working with students that do not have any idea of what they want to do or even realize what they can do,” Patty says. “To see the ideas form and start to materialize in their minds, and to help the students to believe in themselves and start to see their goals become achievable—these are the reasons why I get up and walk through those school doors every day. And years later, it is so rewarding to see my students graduate, start the second phase of their lives either in college, the military or workforce, start to have families of their own, and become active in their community.” 

Patty understands that kids have so many trials and tribulations during their teenage years, and when she is privileged enough to help them work through them and persevere to become successful, it makes every single sleepless night she endured worth it. “Because yes, there is not a single educator out there who does not go home and forget their job. We continue to worry and pray over our students because we have had them for such a long period of time that we have developed such a strong relationship with many of them. We love them and care for them as if they were our own students,” Patty says. “And every single one of my students knows that my expectations for them are as high as if they were my own child because I believe in them.” 

Having and raising a family while also working and having a career is what Patty believes to be her biggest accomplishment. One time, Patty was called a “part-time mother” because she worked and sent her kids to daycare. “I consider people that work as truly full-time parents. We still raise our children even though they do have child care, and we are supporting our children in several different ways,” Patty says. “And I have been so fortunate to work for a school district that understands that we are moms and dads at home as well as employees. TISD is one big family and believes that family comes first.”

Patty believes that we all face adversity and struggles with day-to-day life, and she believes that it makes you stronger as a person. Patty’s first husband died in a car wreck nine months after they were married. “Those were the darkest days of my life. My family, friends, and the grace of God helped me through those days. I am not sure where I would be today without my faith in God,” Patty says. “We don’t always know why some things happen, but I am here to tell you that God takes care of us. He wants us to be happy. And he made me happy again by blessing me with another wonderful husband to spend my life with. I thank him every single day for my happiness.” 

Today, Patty is happily married to Kevin McDonald, whom she met, ironically, through mutual friends of Patty’s first husband. Patty and Kevin have three “handsome, smart, and hardworking sons.” Garrett is 25 and works in the cattle industry with Kevin. Gage is 22 and will graduate from the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville this coming May. He will join them in the cattle industry. Karson, their youngest son, is almost 20-years-old and a sophomore at the University of Arkansas, majoring in Political Science. “Our empty nester fur baby is Oakley, a two-year-old Goldendoodle, who is the boss of our household,” Patty says. “Since I am getting close to being able to retire, I would like to travel and help take care of ’a long time in the future’ grandbabies,’ but I love what I do so much that it may be a while before I retire.”  

Patty is actively involved in her church and community when she isn’t working. Her family is members of First Lutheran Church, where Patty was raised since birth. “I have been a Sunday school teacher, VBS teacher, youth leader, and have served on several committees. I am also in the choir, bell choir, and sing in the praise band,” Patty says. “I have served as a volunteer for CASA, was a board member for Texarkana Arkansas Baseball Association, and even coached a T-ball team.” When they can get away, Patty and Kevin spend a lot of time in Fayetteville visiting their sons, Gage and Karson. “We enjoy tailgating with our crew and Calling Those Hogs! WPS!!” Patty says. “We also love to camp, but my favorite vacation is laying on the beach listening to the waves crash in. I am an avid reader and a huge sports fan. I love to cheer for the Texas High Tigers, the Arkansas Razorbacks, and the Dallas Cowboys.” 

In the end, Patty would like to be remembered as someone that was always there for her family, friends, and students. “I hope they know that they could always count on me and trust in me to be there for them,” Patty says. “I love BIG. And I pray everyone knows how BIG I love them.”

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