Educator Ron Clark will be speaking as part of the American Studies Institute (ASI) Distinguished Lecture Series on Tuesday, Jan. 30 in the Benson Auditorium. He is also a motivational speaker and the founder of The Ron Clark Academy. He will be speaking on “Creative Practices for Motivating Members of Your Team.”
Clark has been called “America’s Educator” and was named Oprah Winfrey’s first “Phenomenal Man.” He travels around the country speaking about his experiences as a teacher in order to empower others and inspire them to find their calling and make it their mission.
According to the Premiere Speakers Bureau, Clark began teaching in Harlem, New York, after watching a documentary on low test scores in inner-city schools. Within a year, the scores of his students were the top of their grade.
In 2006, Clark teamed with Kim Bearden to create The Ron Clark Academy, a school in Atlanta, Georgia, which seeks to use transformative methods and techniques to teach students. That same year, “The Ron Clark Story” was released, starring Matthew Perry from “Friends” as Clark. The movie told the story of his transition teaching in an inner-city school and the success that followed.
“We watched his movie in one of my education classes … freshman year,” senior Alyssa Durant said. “We also studied his 55 essential rules with Dr. (Allen) Henderson.”
Clark wrote his New York Times bestseller “The Essential 55” as a guideline for students, which includes a list of 55 expectations for themselves.
Senior education major and vice president of ASI Jon Ortiz said Clark’s rules apply to everyone, not only those studying education.
“I truly believe that if we followed those rules, our society would be in much better condition than what it is,” Ortiz said.
Director of ASI Kim Kirkman said the lecture is designed to reach all majors and fields.
“Attending the event will give practical things to making members of your team stronger,” Kirkman said. “Your team may be a classroom, a club, a class project group, advisory group — whatever it is, you can gain skills to strengthen your team.”
Kirkman hopes that the message will inspire and motivate the audience.
“Any major could learn something from him,” Durant said. “When you see someone who loves their profession so much and is willing to take it the extra mile — that can inspire anyone.”
As part of the event, the lecture will recognize teachers. Educators will be seated in the front of the auditorium and receive special recognition during the event, according to Ortiz.
The lecture will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Benson Auditorium and will conclude with a book signing to follow at 8:30 p.m.