Patty O'Connor

Patty O'ConnorPatty O’Connor, retired after 34 years of teaching English/Language Arts, is currently employed as an English tutor for at-risk students.   Although a Floridian by birth, she has been a Virginian by choice since 1987.  In 1992, Patty started teaching Holocaust literature to her 8th grade students.  A colleague informed her about Jay Ipson, who had spoken to her students about his life experiences as a Holocaust survivor.   That spring of 1996, Jay Ipson spoke to her students at Manchester Middle School.  Because of the students’ enthusiastic response, she invited Jay to speak again the next school year.  Since the Virginia Holocaust Museum had just opened in May 1997, her students, along with her colleague’s students, were invited to be the first school group to tour the museum. 


Immediately after that field trip, Patty volunteered as a docent.  In addition, she has interviewed over 40 Holocaust survivors, liberators, and rescuers.  During the first few years as a volunteer, Patty compiled the first VHM Teacher Manual and assisted Jay with Teacher Workshops.  As the workshops evolved and eventually developed into the Teacher Education Institute, she continued to present “Teaching the Holocaust Through Literature” through the summer of 2010.  Another privilege was being one of the first teachers to teach Izzy’s Fire, the Ipsons’ story of survival during the Holocaust.  She was the first teacher to create a Teacher’s Guide for the book.  Once Jay resumed his independent role as Holocaust History Lecturer, Patty volunteered to edit and assist with any projects that Jay pursues.