Former Chippewa Valley Schools superintendent dies

By: Alex Szwarc | C&G Newspapers | Published July 15, 2019

 Dr. Patricia Kennedy died June 30 at the age of 69. She worked in Chippewa Valley Schools and served as superintendent from 1998-2004.

Dr. Patricia Kennedy died June 30 at the age of 69. She worked in Chippewa Valley Schools and served as superintendent from 1998-2004.

Photo provided by Harold W. Vick Funeral Home

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MACOMB/CLINTON TOWNSHIP — Brilliant, attentive, caring and encouraging.

Those are some words used to describe Dr. Patricia Kennedy, who died June 30 at the age of 69.

She worked in Chippewa Valley Schools for over 10 years, serving as superintendent from 1998-2004.

A July 2 tweet from Chippewa Valley Schools states, “Chippewa Valley is sad to announce the passing of Dr. Patti Kennedy, former superintendent. She was a wonderful colleague, friend and mentor to many. She will be missed.”

Kennedy, of Shelby Township, was born in Mount Clemens and married Gordon Kennedy in 1985.

She earned her bachelor’s degree in education of emotionally disturbed children from Western Michigan University in 1971, and began working as a special education teacher for Mount Clemens Public Schools.

“I was a building administrator when Dr. Kennedy was hired as superintendent,” Chippewa Valley Schools Superintendent Ron Roberts said. “I had a close relationship with Patti and she really impacted my career by giving me opportunity. Professionally, she meant so much to what I’ve done in the district.”

In 1976, Kennedy completed her master’s degree in special education from Eastern Michigan University and continued her education at Wayne State University, earning an education specialist degree in general administration. In 1986, she became the director of special education at Lake Shore Public Schools and later worked as the director of human resources. She earned a doctorate in education from Wayne State University in 1990 and joined Chippewa Valley Schools shortly after. She was appointed interim superintendent in September 1998 and superintendent in July 1999, retiring from CVS in August 2004.

Roberts said Kennedy was a caring administrator who handled some very tough situations in the school district.

“There were budget cuts and we were expanding with student enrollment,” he said. “She was the superintendent during 9/11 and was involved in many important things.”

Within Chippewa, Kennedy served in many capacities including executive director of special services, executive director of instruction and operations, and superintendent. She retired in 2007 after 36 years in education and continued to work part-time as adjunct faculty at Saginaw Valley State University Macomb Campus until 2009.

A lifelong member of Trinity Lutheran Church in Clinton Township, she was  baptized, confirmed and married there.

Her hobbies included traveling, skiing, knitting, and socializing with friends in her book club.

Former Chippewa Valley Schools Superintendent and current Macomb County Chief Deputy County Executive Mark Deldin said that Kennedy leaves a strong legacy of commitment to her family, friends and the educational community.

“I met Patti and Gordy while we were colleagues at Lake Shore in the 1980s,” he said. “In 1995, she was the first person I called when I read in the classified ads a Chippewa Valley administrative vacancy advertised in the Sunday newspaper. In Patti’s usual style, in one phone conversation, she educated, counseled and encouraged me to apply.”

He added that Kennedy was always willing to assist friends and colleagues.

“I will be forever grateful for the years of friendship and working together in Lake Shore and Chippewa Valley,” he said.

Deldin served as superintendent from 2004-2010.

Kennedy is survived by her husband Gordon, two sons, two granddaughters and a brother. She was preceded in death by her sister, Megann Ratzow.

Visitation was July 8 at Harold W. Vick Funeral Home, Inc. in Mount Clemens, followed by a July 9 funeral at Trinity Lutheran Church in Clinton Township. Kennedy was laid to rest at Clinton Township’s Resurrection Cemetery.

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