Citizen of the Week: Eric Patterson

As director of facilities and maintenance for Whitfield County Schools, Eric Patterson works with everyone from contractors and work supervisors to school principals and custodians, and he does it all with aplomb, said Mike Ewton, Whitfield County Schools assistant superintendent for operations and student services.

"Without him in place, I shudder to think how some of these projects might have turned out," Ewton said. "He makes sure we get what we pay for."

"All the maintenance supervisors report to him, all the custodians, and he works closely with our administrators," Ewton said. "They'll all tell you" how capable he is in his duties.

Patterson "is one of those can-do guys," Ewton said. "He has lots of responsibilities with his work, but he makes things happen."

Whitfield County Schools has several major construction projects ongoing, including two new schools: a new Valley Point Middle School, which will house students this August, and a new North Whitfield Middle School, slated to open for the 2021-22 school year.

"We had an exceedingly wet winter," which complicated construction, and then the new coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic added another layer of complexity, Ewton said. However, both projects remain on schedule, and Patterson "deserves a lot of that credit."

Like others in positions of leadership for school systems, Patterson has to work within a limited budget, so "he can't give people everything they want all the time, but he tries to do everything he possibly can," Ewton said. "He has the respect" of all those with whom he interacts.

In addition to his exceptional job performance, Patterson is "very dedicated to his family and his community," Ewton said. "He does rodeo, he's a fisherman, he's a hunter, and his kids are all involved" in sports and similar outdoor pursuits.

Ewton also respects the way Patterson "came up through the ranks," starting in an "entry-level" maintenance role two decades ago and working his way up to the director spot, he said. "That's another admirable thing about him."

For his dedication to maintenance and facilities for Whitfield County Schools while maintaining an active family and community life, the Daily Citizen-News names Eric Patterson its Citizen of the Week.

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