National Education Experts Inspire Local Principals & Teachers

North Carolina State University’s College of Education hosted Ron Clark, education expert and motivational speaker, and Kim Bearden, executive director of The Ron Clark Academy.

Clark and Bearden brought remarks to a group of educational leaders of local schools in rural North Carolina through the support of NC State’s Northeast Leadership Academy (NELA). NELA collaborates with 14 rural, high-need school districts to increase student achievement by preparing assistant principals and principals to serve as instructional leaders in the consortium’s schools.

Ron Clark at NELA“Ron Clark gave an amazing keynote, and we were all very inspired! We received numerous positive comments and words of thanks,” said, Dr. Bonnie Fusarelli, professor in the College of Education and principal investigator for NELA.  “Both Clark and Bearden are gifted educators and they provided the audience with numerous creative ways to make learning rigorous, fun, and engaging as well as strategies to help students, parents, and teachers feel welcome and excited to be back at school. It was the perfect event to launch the 2014-2015 school year!”

Ron Clark is known as “America’s Educator,” and founded The Ron Clark Academy in Atlanta, Georgia. He is the 2000 Disney American Teacher of the Year and a two-time New York Times bestselling author, and the subject of a television movie. He delivers humorous and heartwarming stories relevant to all educators that are motivational messages of hope, dedication, and the never-say-never attitude required to achieve goals and dreams.

Kim at NELAKim Bearden is the co-founder and executive director of The Ron Clark Academy. She is an award-winning language arts teacher. Her book, Crash Course: Life Lessons My Students Taught Me shares stories about how she made a difference in the lives of her high-need students and how they have impacted her life as well.  She had many of the audience members in tears as she explained how though some students can be challenging, she views all of her students as,  “the source of my joy.”

Dr. Tony Jackson, Superintendent of Nash Rocky Mount Public Schools, introduced Clark and Bearden to the crowd of over 700 people who attended over the two days of the event.

To learn more about how the NELA program works, visit and read the story of Yolanda Wiggins, principal of Winstead Avenue Elementary in Rocky Mount.