Dr. Kameron Van Patterson is Director of Programs for The Judge Alexander Williams, Jr. Center for Education, Justice & Ethics, and Assistant Research Professor in the Department of African American Studies at the University of Maryland, College Park. In these complementary roles, Dr. Patterson designs, develops, promotes, and leads the implementation of strategic initiatives and programs aimed at improving outcomes and creating more robust structures of opportunity for people from vulnerable or disadvantaged communities who are disproportionality impacted by social, economic, and political inequalities. Dr. Patterson is also the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Achievement America, LLC—a consulting company established in 2014 to empower a new generation of American leadership by advancing excellence and equity in education. He is dedicated to building beloved communities through the formation of strategic partnerships for learning, and the advancement of restorative justice, racial and economic equity, intentional diversity, and political inclusion.
Prior to joining the University of Maryland, Dr. Patterson served as the Director of Foundation and Government Grants at The Ellington Fund, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that works in collaboration with the Duke Ellington School of the Arts (DESA) and its institutional partners to promote the success of Ellington students and families. From 2014 to 2017, Dr. Patterson served as the Director of Academic Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment at DESA. In this capacity, he led the implementation of academic initiatives and interventions designed to raise student achievement outcomes, foster highly-effective teaching, and promote the social, emotional, and intellectual development of more than five hundred diverse high school students from Washington D.C., Maryland, and Virginia. Earlier in his educational leadership career, Dr. Patterson also served as National Director of the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) Freedom Schools program—an out-of-school literacy enrichment, social action, youth leadership development, and high-quality early childhood education initiative that promotes equity in education through service to children and families in low-income communities throughout the country.
Dr. Patterson’s scholarly research employs critical race theory to examine the historical impact of inequality and social justice movements throughout the African Diaspora. His most recent publication entitled “(Re)Considering Race in the Desegregation of Higher Education,” appears in the Spring 2012 (Vol. 46, Issue No. 3) 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. In addition to his academic interests, Dr. Patterson is passionate about the influences of African culture and mythology, the visual and performing arts, social entrepreneurship, and the empowerment of youth cultures in promoting civic engagement and leadership development.
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, 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. Dr. Patterson and his wife, Oluchi Maxine Okezie, reside in Maryland with their son, Nnamdi, and daughter, Nkiruka.