Page 24



Patti Northrop

A D M I N I S T RATIVE ASSISTANT, HOU G H CA M PU S BY BRITTNEY RANGEL PK3 TEACHER'S AIDE It’s hard to characterize and define the Lower Campus Administrative Assistant Patti Northrop (or “Ms. Patti” as she is affectionately known). She attempts to put into words what her ‘exact’ duties are with her signature laugh and a wink, “It’s easier to say what I don’t do!” With 24 years of service at Canterbury, she has somehow come to encompass Assistant, Aftercare Manager, Nurse, forgotten-snack delegator, confidant, and everyone’s go-to gal to name a few. How did she amass so many responsibilities? Well, with raw determination to make a life for herself -- by herself. Patti fondly remembers her hometown of Middlebury, Connecticut as a town with run-ins at the grocery store and regarding neighbors as close family. In a small, picturesque place in the middle of Connecticut, Patti grew up with two sisters knowing what it meant to work hard from a young age, “I worked for everything I wanted and needed growing up--my first car, braces, you name it, I worked for it”. She worked to make ends meet through working at amusement parks, factories, and for top executives in the corporate office of a major insurance company. Ultimately, she realized something was missing, “I needed a job that wasn't so stuffy, and I needed to find my passion. Something had to change.” So, she took a leap

“A ‘HOME’ IS SO MANY THINGS. I FOUND MINE AT CANTERBURY. EVEN AS THE YEARS PASS AND THE CHILDREN GROW, THE FEELING STAYS THE SAME HERE.” of faith--a 1,246-mile leap south all the way to Florida. Patti describes the transition as a difficult one. She had visited St. Petersburg before, but now that she was here, she struggled with the long distance from her family back in Connecticut. “Imagine moving away from a town where home is not just the place you live in but also in the people who surround you. Leaving that was tough, and moving to Florida without knowing anyone made me regret leaving my family at first.” In 1994, after being in Florida for only two years, Patti realized she was still searching for work she could be passionate about. She was ready for another change, this time from her job at the Historical

24 | WINTER 2019

Museum. She knew that with just a short plane ride, she could be back with her family--the people who mean most to her in the world. She was tempted. “I missed my family, it was just me, all by myself [in Florida], and I am really close to my entire family [in Connecticut].” Then, it happened. Patti came across an ad for a secretarial position at the Canterbury School of Florida, and it all began to click. “From day one, I loved it. I loved the families, the staff, the teachers, the kids, everything!” The community at Canterbury reminded her of what she was missing back home in Connecticut. Some of her favorite memories are from the first years of her tenure at Canterbury when her current office used to be the school’s library. She describes her old office as “quaint, to put it nicely,” but recalls fondly listening

Profile for Canterbury School of Florida

CSFeatures 2019 Winter