Concord University News
For Immediate Release: 
Sep 03 2003

Disney American Teacher of the Year to Speak at Concord

Athens, W. Va. – Ron Clark, Disney American Teacher of the Year for 2000, will be speaking at 1 p.m., Friday, September 19 in the Main Auditorium of the Alexander Fine Arts Center. He will address professionalism, setting goals, overcoming obstacles and his life experiences.

Ron Clark is living an incredible life. He was recently named Disney’s American Teacher of the Year, ABC is turning his life story into a Sunday Night Movie of the Week, and he has been featured on the Rosie O’Donnell and Oprah Winfrey shows. In addition, Oprah has named him her first “Phenomenal Man” and featured him in her magazine.

Ron brings charisma, energy and devotion to the education profession. His first teaching job was in rural North Carolina working with minority students in a low wealth area where he conducted innovative projects with his students that garnered worldwide attention. His programs were so effective that his classes were invited to the White House to be honored by the President on three separate occasions.

When Ron saw a TV show about low test scores and the lack of teachers in inner city New York, he packed his car and headed to Harlem. After being warned by the principal that the class was the worst she had seen in terms of discipline, Ron prepared himself by visiting the home of each student before the first day of school. Ron involved his students in projects around the city and state, and his “low achievers” soon began to excel and by the end of the year, their scores were higher than the “gifted” classes in his district.

As Ron speaks to groups around the country, he tells of the uncanny adventures he has had in the classroom and of his experiences teaching in Harlem. Within his humorous and heartwarming stories, he delivers a message that pertains to all of us. It is a message of hope, dedication and the will to never let anything stand in the way of your goals or dreams. Mr. Clark has written a book, titled “The Essential 55” which includes the 55 expectations he has of his students, as well as all individuals, young and old. Across the country, Ron Clark’s message has been met with resounding applause, standing ovations and admiration.

Margie Flanigan, interim director for the McNair Scholars program and director for Student Support Services at Concord stated that, "Ron will be sharing techniques he has successfully used in the classroom, focusing on professionalism in teaching, goal setting, and overcoming obstacles. For today's teachers, Ron's message is particularly important, given state and federal mandates and accountability for increased student performance."

A book signing will be held directly after Mr. Clark’s presentation.

Mr. Clark is sponsored by the McNair Scholars, a federally supported program that encourages first-generation college students to attend graduate school, and the Concord College Office of Career Services.

The presentation is free to the general public. For more information, contact Lisa Karnes, 1-304-384-6019 or mcnair@concord.edu.

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CONCORD COLLEGE NOTES: Persons with disabilities should contact Rick Dillon, 1-304-384-5231 if special accommodations are required.

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