Ron Clark

Ron Clark

Teacher & Founder

Ron Clark Academy

Atlanta, GA USA

If you pour enough love, energy, and excitement into the life of a child, you can change that child forever.


By Roadtrip Nation

Ron Clark


My road in life has been direct.
I grew up in North Carolina and was the first person on both sides of my family to attend college.
I was working at a fast food drive-through when my mom urged me to go inquire about a teaching opening at a local school—I had no intentions of taking the job, but wanted to appease my mom.
After meeting with the principal and students, I decided to take the job.
I quickly realized that traditional lesson plans weren’t resonating with my students, so I started incorporating fun activities, like rapping lessons, dress-up days, and field trips.
After five years of teaching in North Carolina—during which, I was honored by President Clinton—I decided to move to New York and teach at a struggling school in Harlem.
In 2000, I was named Teacher of the Year by Disney.
I wrote a bestselling book, “The Essential 55,” and used the money to buy an old, vacant factory in Atlanta, Georgia—it was my goal to turn that space into a new school.
In 2007, I co-founded The Ron Clark Academy, a nonprofit private school, where we utilize innovative teaching methods to help students succeed—our methods produce a 100% high school graduation rate!
Keep following my journey


High School
East Carolina University


Teacher & Founder

I co-founded a private nonprofit school where I teach fifth and sixth grade.

Career Roadmap

My work combines:
My work combines:
Teaching / Mentoring

Advice for Getting Started

Here's the first step for professionals

When training to become a teacher, the more hands-on experience, the better! You should train in multiple classrooms with multiple teachers to get the best training experience. I recommend finding the most gifted student in your classroom and teaching for that student. That way, you're not only engaging and challenging the gifted students, but you'll notice that every other student in your classroom will perform better as well.


The Noise I Shed

From Peers:

"Why are you putting all that money into your classroom? You won't have anything left! Why are you doing home visits? We're not teaching the parents! Why are you doing all of that?"

Challenges I Overcame