‘You have to capture people’s hearts before their minds’

By Barbara Patterson Oden
August 2021
The Learning Professional recently spoke with journal advisor and president of Learning Forward Virginia, Barbara Patterson Oden, about navigating COVID and beyond Professional learning has played a central role in your career. Why is it important to you? Early in my career, I served as a gifted resource teacher because I wanted to work with talented, underserved kids. Over time, I realized I wanted my work to impact far more students than I would have the ability to teach myself. And I learned that I loved helping teachers grow their capacity, so I became an instructional coach. After three years in that role, I became supervisor of professional learning for a district in southeast Virginia. Through those experiences, I found that teacher capacity is the

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Barbara Patterson Oden ( is assistant principal at Truitt Intermediate School in Chesapeake, Virginia, the president of Learning Forward Virginia, and a member of the advisory board of The Learning Professional.

The Learning Professional

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