Patt earned both her Bachelor of Science in Education and Master of Science in Public Administration from Southeast Missouri State University. During her graduate program, she was inducted into Pi Sigma Alpha (national political science honor society) and the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi. Over the years, she taught English, journalism, math and/or business classes in public high schools and adult vocational centers. A finalist for Missouri Journalism Teacher of the Year, Patt was a co-founder of the Southeast Missouri Scholastic Press Association for high school students. She served as the Eighth Congressional District member of the Missouri State Board of Education (2001-2004). As a member of the National Association of State Boards of Education, she served as the Missouri Team Leader for the national Healthy Schools Network and on national educational study groups. Patt has served on the Democratic State Committee, has been a delegate to the Democratic National Convention, and, in 2004, Patt was the Democratic nominee for the State Senate from Missouri's 25th Senatorial District. Patt is married to Stephen Rhodes Sharp, a former Prosecuting Attorney and State Senator and the current Presiding Circuit Judge of Dunklin and Stoddard Counties.