Ron Clark (teacher)

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Ron L. Clark, Jr. (born 1972)[1][2] is an American educator, currently teaching in Atlanta, Georgia, who has worked with disadvantaged students in rural North Carolina and Harlem, New York City. He is known for his books on teaching children in middle schools.


Clark was educated at East Carolina University through the North Carolina Teaching Fellows program and accepted a job in Aurora, North Carolina upon graduation in 1994. Four years later he departed for Harlem to take a job teaching elementary school in an inner-city setting. Clark's latest project is the Ron Clark Academy, a private non-profit school in Atlanta, Georgia where students follow a unique curriculum. The school also gives students opportunities for international travel and offers training workshops for teachers to learn more about Clark's teaching methods.


Clark is known for his ability to raise test scores by using unique methods that incorporate innovation, creativity and 55 classroom rules. He has appeared on many national TV shows, including two appearances on The Oprah Winfrey Show, where Ms. Winfrey named him as her first "Phenomenal Man."

Clark received the 2000 Disney Teacher of the Year award[3] from Disney, which owns Hyperion Books.

Clark's first year spent in Harlem was the focus of a 2006 made-for-TV movie, The Ron Clark Story, (also known as The Triumph in Australia, the UK and the Philippines), starring Matthew Perry, which garnered an Emmy nomination for Executive Producers Howard Burkons, Adam Gilad and Brenda Friend.

The Ron Clark Academy[edit]


The Ron Clark Academy, housed in a renovated red brick warehouse[4] is located in southeast Atlanta, Georgia, and accommodates fifth through eighth grade students. Students are from low wealth to high wealth families. Clark had planned to build the school for ten years before construction began. Along with the proceeds of his two books The Essential 55 and The Excellent 11, Clark raised additional funding for the project which eventually cost over $3.5 million. The academy was established on June 25, 2007. Classes began for students on September 4, 2007. The Ron Clark Academy hosts a Model United Nations conference in Atlanta, called the Ron Clark Model UN. The conference does not accept pre-written resolutions, instead requires position papers. Ron Clark gave a speech during the opening ceremonies about how he and his students raised $12,000 for an ad in USA Today, and then how he raised the money for bus fares to Washington.

Technology and facilities[edit]

Each classroom provides students with technology such as notebook computers, interactive whiteboards, digital cameras, projectors, and audio video equipment. In addition to the technologically-equipped classrooms, the school provides students with accessible amenities such as a recording studio, a darkroom, a two-story vaulted ceiling library, a gymnasium, and a dance studio.

The Ron Clark Academy uses donated computers in all classrooms and offices.[5] As a result, students will be able to study photography, music production, and business leadership.

Student population[edit]

The students that attend The Ron Clark Academy come from a range of backgrounds, including students from high wealth families. Students must go through an application process in order to be accepted into the school. Only 50 students were accepted out of 350 applications the first school year. Students must be nominated for the school and then must apply. Students' applications are then reviewed by Ron Clark and other teachers and students are selected to be interviewed by the school. If accepted, students' parents must sign a Contract of Obligation in which parents agree to volunteer 10 hours of their time each quarter. They also will have to allow their child to go on mandatory field trips essential to the curriculum.[6]

Media attention 2008 — "Vote However You Like"[edit]

Students in debate class at Ron Clark Academy created a song about the 2008 U.S. presidential election, "Vote However You Like", to the same beat and melody of "Whatever You Like" by T.I. A performance of the song by 6th and 7th graders was posted on the internet and drew national attention. The video has now been viewed over 2 million times.[7] T.I., himself, paid a surprise visit to the Academy after learning of their remake of his song to watch them perform it in person.[8] On October 31, 2008, the "Students of Ron Clark Academy" were named the ABC Person of the Week by ABC World News Tonight.[9] They were also invited to perform at the 2009 Inauguration.[10]


Clark has written three books. The first, called The Essential 55: An Award-Winning Educator's Rules for Discovering the Successful Student in Every Child (2003), is being published in 25 countries. In 2004 he followed with The Excellent 11: Qualities Teachers and Parents Use to Motivate, Inspire, and Educate Children. His third book, The End of Molasses Classes, was published during the summer of 2011, listing "101 Extraordinary Solutions for Parents and Teachers".

In December 2008, Oprah Winfrey donated $365,000 to Ron Clark, for the Ron Clark Academy, for his profound dedication to teaching.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "2007 Award Recipients". East Carolina Alumni Association. Retrieved September 15, 2011. 
  2. ^ Gutierrez, Bridget (September 3, 2007). "Former Disney teacher Ron Clark, inspired film, opens Atlanta school". Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Archived from the original on September 19, 2007. 
  3. ^ Clark, Ron (2003). The Essential 55: An Award-Winning Educator's Rules for Discovering the Successful Student in Every Child. Hyperion. ISBN 1-4013-0001-4. 
  4. ^ "Change the world – Atlanta". Retrieved April 26, 2011. 
  5. ^ "Dell, Intel Transform Ron Clark Academy Into Interactive Learning Environment.". BNET. Retrieved April 26, 2011. 
  6. ^ Ron Clark -ron clark academy
  7. ^ Graham, Nicholas (October 29, 2008). "'Vote However You Like' Video By Ron Clark Academy Students". Huffington Post. Retrieved October 31, 2008. 
  8. ^ "TI visits the Academy". October 29, 2008. Retrieved December 31, 2008. 
  9. ^ Aasen, Susan and Lauren Sher (October 31, 2008). "Person of the Week:Kids Sing Impassioned Get-Out-The-Vote Song; Ron Clark Academy's Students Become Internet Sensation With Voting Hit". ABC World News Tonight (ABC News). Retrieved October 31, 2008. 
  10. ^ John Murgatroyd; Ashley Fantz (20 January 2009). "Bringing song to Obama's inauguration, students savor fame -". Retrieved 16 June 2013. 

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