The life of Dr. Patricia C. Bryant, though very short, was rich and well-lived. She lived a meaningful and purposeful life.
Jersey City was her cradle and she was a lifelong resident of this great city, which she loved, and in turn, Jersey City loved her.
Patricia is preceded in death by her beloved mother Harriet E. Bryant, father James L. Bryant Sr., brother James L. Bryant Jr. and daughter Shayla S. Todd-McClain. Surviving to cherish Patricia’s precious memory are sisters Karin M. Bryant and Sherine Robinson; great uncle Theodore V. O’Kelly; aunts Gloria W. Nelson, Marion V. Russell, and Frances G. Wilson; uncle Robert Wilson; former son-in-law Frank McClain; grandchildren Joseph, Frank, Samuel, Isis, Quintana, and Evalise; great grandchildren Harmony and Jocelyn; nieces Taisha Shorter, Racheal Vaughn (David), Tiara Robinson; nephew James L Bryant III (Karima); great nieces Kiara, Kylan, Niani, Khloe, Kora, A’siyaa; great nephews Keith (Jessica), Ra-Quan, Danaya, Dareon, Jalen, Akil, Zion, Clarence; great great niece Kiannah; goddaughter Shakira and a host of family and friends.
Patricia was born September 3, 1955. She was one of three children born to the Late Harriet E. Bryant and the Late James L. Bryant, Sr. At an early age, it was evident that Pat would pursue a career in education. She would often surround her sister, Karin, with stuffed animals and pretend they were her students.
As a child, she attended St. Patrick’s Grammar School and graduated from the Academy of St. Aloysius. As a young lady, She earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the College of St. Elizabeth in Convent Station, NJ. During that time Pat met and married the Late Recardo F. Todd. The union was blessed with her beloved daughter, the Late Shayla S. Todd-McClain. Patricia was an excellent mother and her daughter, Shayla was the joy of her life.
Pat’s passion for education prompted her to continue her studies. She earned a Master of Arts Degree from St. Peter’s College in Jersey City, NJ. Later, she returned to her alma mater, The College of Saint Elizabeth, and obtained a Doctorate in Educational Leadership.
True to her calling, upon her college graduation, Pat began her teaching career at St. Patrick’s Grammar School, where she taught grades six, eight, and kindergarten. Then in 1982, Pat began working at the Jersey City Child Development Centers, also known as “Head Start”. It truly takes a big heart to shape little minds and our Pat had the greatest heart you can imagine. She taught four-year olds at the Curries Woods Housing Complex for two years, and then became an Education Supervisor in 1984. In 1986, Dr. Patricia Bryant began working for the East Orange Board of Education.
In September of 1989, Pat was very excited to hear that Jersey City Public Schools would begin a preschool program called the “Urban Pre-kindergarten Pilot Program” and began teaching three-year olds at the Julia A. Barnes School #12, thus luring Patricia back to Jersey City.
In 1992, she became the Early Childhood Assistant Supervisor. Then in 1995, Pat was promoted to the position of Early Childhood Language Arts Supervisor. Shortly thereafter, in 1998, she was selected to be the principal of the Dr. Charles P. DeFuccio School #39.
All who knew Pat, are well aware that she was an ambassador for Early Childhood Education. Therefore, becoming the Director of Early Childhood in September 2003 was not a surprise to anyone, but instead a given. As life would have it, in May of 2005, she became the Associate Superintendent of the Early Childhood Department, a very well deserved title.
Under Dr. Bryant’s leadership, the Early Childhood Department, a program that she championed, and has since flourished. It has gone on to become a premiere district for Early Childhood education. Visitors from New York, Washington, and Iceland have come to observe the high quality Preschool Program provided to students in Jersey City. Dr. Bryant’s dedication and work ethic have certainly left its mark on all of us and the children of Jersey City.
Dr. Patricia Bryant was a great giant in every sense of the word and will leave a massive void in the hearts of everyone she met along the way.