Cameron Van Patterson
Class of 2012
Dr. Cameron Van Patterson is the Director of Academic Instruction and Curriculum at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts (DESA) in Washington D.C. In this capacity, he leads the implementation of academic initiatives and interventions designed to raise student achievement outcomes, foster highly effective teaching, and promote the intellectual development of more than five hundred diverse high school students by modeling a rigorous commitment to critical literacy through creative lenses. Working in collaboration with over sixty faculty and staff to cultivate the minds of young scholars and artists who will drive the creative economy of the twenty-first century, Dr. Patterson oversees formative and summative student academic assessments, programming, instruction, and interdisciplinary curriculum development for all five of the Ellington School’s academic departments. His responsibilities include professional development training, recruitment, and the data-driven evaluation of culturally responsive pedagogy and engaged learning.
Prior to joining DESA, Dr. Patterson served as the National Director of the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) Freedom Schools program—an out-of-school literacy, social action, youth leadership development, and early childhood education initiative that serves children and families in low-income communities throughout the country. He also taught as a college professor at Clark Atlanta University and has lectured at various universities across the country on the significance of black visual narratives, and the complex relationship between artistic practices and social discourses of difference throughout the African Diaspora. Dr. Patterson’s scholarly research employs critical race theory to examine the historical impact of inequality in western cultures. His most recent publication entitled “(Re)Considering Race in the Desegregation of Higher Education,” appears in the Spring 2012 edition of the University of Georgia Law Review, and his commentary on contemporary issues concerning restorative social justice has been featured in online journals like The Perkins Perspective and on the Arise News media network. In addition to his academic interests, Dr. Patterson is passionate about the visual and performing arts, creative writing, public service, education leadership, and youth development. Currently, he works in collaboration with several organizations dedicated to the empowerment of young men of color.
Born and raised in Long Beach, CA, Dr. Patterson has been recognized for numerous achievements in education and is a two-time recipient of the Pedro Noguera Volunteer of the Year Award. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a Bachelor of Arts in African American Studies and a minor in Education from the University of California at Berkeley, and holds a Ph.D. in African and African American Studies with an emphasis in the History of Art and Architecture from Harvard University.