Early in her adult life, Patricia Mann worked as a programmer at The Hartford for 14 years. The insurer offered her the job right out of South Carolina State University with a computer science degree, and she loved it.
"I was comfortable with what I did," Mann said Wednesday.
But Mann, 48, also is a people person—a nurturing woman with a bright smile and the organizational skills of an event planner. For years, she was curious about the teaching profession, although "when you're in your own career, you don't have much time to explore," she said.
Mann found the time. After becoming a teacher in 2000, Mann is now the Connecticut Technical High School System's 2013 Teacher of the Year.
A central office committee chose Mann, an instructor at A.I. Prince Technical High School in Hartford, out of 16 finalists who were the respective teachers of the year at technical high schools across the state, school officials said this week.
Mann is head of Prince Tech's Information Systems Technology department, where students learn trades such as computer programming, networking, hardware, web design, graphics and desktop publishing. Aside from being a classroom teacher, Principal William Chaffin said, Mann is involved in professional development, staff mentoring and school committees. She organized last week's graduation.