Rev. Dana Patterson Nelson, a native Kansas Citian and career educator, returned to the KC metro after living, teaching and ministering nearly 20 years in the South and then overseas in the Middle East. Prior to relocating overseas, Rev. Dana acted as Georgia’s Bright from the Start Statewide Inclusion Coordinator overseeing services impacting up to 50,000 children with disabilities and their families. After living nearly 20 years in the South she returned, Rev. Dana served the Dean of Academic Compliance at the ACE Schools (PK-12). She is an Olathe Public Schools master teacher and has earned awards for leadership and teaching excellence.
Rev. Dana graduated magna cum laude with distinction in the Honors Program from Clark Atlanta University. She earned two master’s degrees from Vanderbilt and Park Universities in Special Education and Education Administration respectively. She completed doctoral and graduate studies in urban education at Emory University and English Language Learning from Emporia State University. Rev. Dana is nearing completion of a Masters of Divinity (M.Div.) from Central Baptist Theological Seminary. Central honored Rev. Dana with the Marsha Stearns Marshall Women Preacher recognition in 2013. Rev. Dana is a graduate of St. Teresa’s Academy in Kansas City, Missouri.
During her years in Georgia, Rev. Dana trained urban teachers in metro Atlanta as part of the U. S. Department of Education’s recognized professional development center of “excellence and best practices” in learning modalities, cultural diversity & inclusion and teaching efficacy. She served on numerous research teams, presented at national and regional conferences, served as chief editor for an inaugural research journal at Emory. She served as a Lead Teacher at the Ben Carson STEM Youth Institute at Morehouse College. She interned with the Quality Education for Minorities Network in Washington, D.C. She has devoted her life to the betterment of marginalized groups through education, arts, inter-faith/denominational initiatives, advocacy and coalition-building for policy change.
While in Qatar, Rev. Dana served as an educational consultant and TESOL/ELL trainer with Sylvan Learning in Doha. She trained native Qatari educators at a local girls’ academy. She designed accelerated instruction for enlisted U.S. Army soldiers at Camp As’Aliyah earning a 100% “pass” rate for her students on the ASVAB. Rev. Dana also helped launch the Middle East’s first chapter of Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS) as part of the Women’s Ministry Leadership Team at Grace Fellowship Church-a diverse expatriate Christian community in Doha.
At the age of seven, Rev. Dana accepted Christ and was baptized by Rev. Dr. David Shipley at Second Baptist Church (SBC). She was also influenced by her neighbor and SBC pastor, Rev. Dr. E. E. Chappelle. After having served in diverse ministries in Atlanta, Nashville and overseas, Rev. Dana acknowledged her calling and became licensed at SBC in 2009. Currently, she is SBC’s Youth Pastor and serves as the Co-Chair of the Christian Education Institute. She formerly coordinated the Ministers-in-Training Initiative and co-chaired the Discipleship Ministry. Rev. Dana’s civic affiliations include The Links, Inc. – Greater Kansas City (Communications/PR Director, Contributions Committee Chair), Jack & Jill of America, Inc. – Johnson County (Chaplain), Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art Education Advisory Board (Corresponding Secretary), Delta Kappa Gamma, International for Distinguished Women Educators, Kansas Democrats, and United Minority Media Association (International Reporter). She is a 25-year of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
Rev. Dana lived in Qatar and has toured Israel, Jordan, Dubai, Canada, Europe, Mexico and the Caribbean. In 2013, Rev. Dana co-lead a group to Ghana for a service learning experience. This past summer, Rev. Dana was selected from a competitive national pool of applicants as a 2015 Japan Intensive Peace Study Tour participant. Her international reflections and inspirational devotions have been published online. She also has been a featured specialist on local and national radio. Known for her boundless creativity, resourcefulness and inspired speaking and teaching, Rev. Dana is a sought after transformational servant leader and special projects logistician. She warmly demands much from herself and others to inspire excellent results while enhancing the lives of many.
She proudly ministers alongside her husband, Rev. Kevin Nelson, who serves as the 9th Senior Pastor in Second Baptist Church’s 153-year history. They have three children, Joshua, Jacob and Gabrielle. Rev. Dana is the daughter of Wade and the late Carole Ladd and Robert and Kathi Patterson. Rev. Dana relies on the Holy Spirit’s use of her intellect, wit, and wisdom to uplift, engage, and challenge us to become the “hands and feet of Christ”.