(Founder of The Ron Clark Academy)
Ron Clark has been called "America's Educator." His work with disadvantaged students in rural North Carolina and in inner-city Harlem garnered worldwide attention, and he was invited to the White House on three separate occasions to be honored by the president. Clark's tireless work and dedication to making a difference in the lives of children led Disney to name him American Teacher of the Year in 2000.
Clark has authored two books that have become extremely popular in the education profession. His first book, The Essential 55, is a New York Times bestseller and is currently published in more than 25 countries and in its 11th printing of more than 1 million copies.
In his first year as a teacher in North Carolina, Clark became the youngest teacher ever named the county's teacher of the year and went on to receive numerous awards and accolades for his unique approaches. Clark's students were involved with projects in which they sent out more than 10,000 letters to registered voters, worked in professional campaign offices and took educational trips across the country. They also placed an advertisement dealing with the dangers of tobacco use in USA Today that received thousands of responses and media attention from around the world. Clark's classroom is always alive with energy, color and challenges.
Clark's students have made outstanding personal and academic achievements. In North Carolina, his students in fifth grade scored first or second in the county each year on their reading and writing assessments, making major improvements from the previous year. In New York, his classes contained 37 students, all of whom scored in the lowest levels on their New York state end-of-grade tests. After one year, every student scored at or above grade level in math and reading, and his class' scores were higher than the gifted classes in the school.
Clark knows how to reach kids, inspire them and get them to succeed. His teaching techniques enable students to quickly reach grade level and exceed expectations. He has traveled with his students to South Africa, Costa Rica and Japan, where he served as an educational ambassador. He has also spoken to more than 200,000 teachers in 49 states, spreading his message of hope and dedication and the importance of manners, respect and seeing the potential in every child.