Patrice Ellison, who previously worked for the Bulloch County Schools as a substitute school nurse and is mother to eight children, five now grown, is seeking the District 3 seat on the Board of Education.
Educated as a cosmetologist as well as a licensed practical nurse, Ellison is continuing her own education toward a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Georgia Southern University to become a registered nurse. She serves in a number of volunteer roles in the community and says that, as a board member, she would advocate for the physical and emotional wellbeing of children and the needs of teachers.
Ellison is challenging incumbent board member Stuart Tedders. District 3 voters will decide between them in the June 9 election, for which early voting is underway.
“I am prepared to advocate for our students and for our teachers, and I will advocate for building trust between the teachers and the students and the staff, and most of all, especially with what’s going on now, I really will advocate for the mental and physical wellbeing of our students,” Ellison said in a phone interview.
Who she is
Born in Bulloch County, she is a graduate of Statesboro High School. In more recent years, she has been a student at Ogeechee Technical College, where she attained her practical nursing diploma, at East Georgia State College and at Georgia Southern. She studied hair design and cosmetology at a school in Minot, North Dakota, and then obtained a license in Georgia.
Ellison also spent a couple of years in the U.S. Army, about 18-20 years ago, serving as a combat nurse while with a support battalion in Germany, she said.
She is married to Ricky Ellison, whom she described as “a great husband, a great father,” whose support of her goals and dreams allows her to be a student and candidate.
Three of her eight children are currently enrolled in the Bulloch County school system, one in elementary school and two in middle school. Four of the older children graduated from Statesboro High, and her oldest son also attended school here before completing high school at Georgia Military Academy.
Ellison worked a year and a half or more as a substitute school nurse before resigning to run for the school board seat just before the schools closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
She had served on the appointed committee of school and community representatives who oversaw a rewrite of the Bulloch County Schools’ new sexuality education curriculum before it was approved by the board in February.
In the past she served as president of the parents committee at Statesboro Head Start. At Ogeechee Tech she was the nursing students’ representative on the Student Government Association.
She works with her church in various programs for children, parents and people in need. She has volunteered in other capacities at her children’s schools and in the community.
Ellison has organized annual Community Love dinners at Thanksgiving and founded her own mentoring group, My Brother’s Keepers, for elementary and middle school boys.
“I’m just a real volunteer person,” she said. “That’s just the heart of me, to service and to give and to give back.”
Statesboro Herald: Why are you seeking this school board seat and why should voters in District 3 choose you?
Ellison: “Besides me being really, really concerned and passionate about children, as a parent who has successfully had five kids to graduate from the public school system, I feel that I am in a great, unique position to advocate for the students and for the teachers.”
Those who vote for her would be getting “a very passionate, principled professional who really cares about the education of all children” as “a voice to advocate for education which should be standard for all children,” she added.
Statesboro Herald: What do you think the school system's priorities should be going into 2021?
Ellison: “I want to be very intentional about my support for the school system and where it should go. … We’re all concerned about the future and how it relates to COVID-19, not just the wellbeing component but also the learning component of our school system.”
She thinks it will also be a time for the school system “to truly address bullying” and wants “to assess what is needed from a resources standpoint and family engagement, social and emotional wellbeing,” she said.
Statesboro Herald: How will you, as a board member, support the work of the superintendent, staff and teachers and hold them accountable?
Ellison: “I would like to advocate for teacher leaders, to provide her with everything she needs in that classroom so that they will know that they are supported in that classroom.”
Then the school board and staff can “hold the teacher leaders accountable for what’s going on their classroom once they have all the support and all the measures that they need to conduct their classrooms as they should.”
But she added that she would listen first and “champion what we have already done” before advocating any changes. “I will support our staff, our teachers and our superintendent.”
A profile of Stuart Tedders will appear tomorrow evening and both profiles in Saturday’s print edition.