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Ron Clark Academy welcomes five new additions to its staff


(From L-R: Yvette Ledford, Tyrel Cooper, Michael Bonner, Diane Kemp, Troy Kemp)

Credit: Jeffrey J Amezqua / Ron Clark Academy

April 26, 2019 — Atlanta, GA— With the construction of a new facility underway, the Ron Clark Academy (RCA) has taken the next steps in its overall growth by adding five new staff members to its remarkable team of master educators and support staff. On Wednesday, April 24th, the Academy held its annual meet and greet event for its newly accepted 4th and 5th grade students. During the celebratory event, the new employees: Michael Bonner, Troy Kemp, Dr. Yvette Ledford, Diane Kemp, and Tyrel Cooper, Diane were introduced to the entire RCA student body and their respective families with great fanfare and warmth.

When reflecting on his new adventure, Bonner voiced, “My heart is overwhelmed with enthusiasm and excitement as I join RCA. I can’t wait to meet the incoming students and create new learning experiences!”

The Academy’s cofounder, executive director, and language arts teacher Kim Bearden expressed, “We are beyond thrilled to announce the newest RCA hires for the 2019 – 2020 school year. We have a stellar group of professionals joining us and we’re excited to see how their skills help our entire team create more magic for our students!”

The new members joining the Ron Clark Academy team are as follows:

New hire: Michael Bonner

Michael Bonner is a 3rd grade teacher from North Carolina’s South Greenville Elementary. In early 2017, Ellen DeGeneres honored Bonner for his positive and innovative educational approaches for children coping with adverse childhood experiences. His efforts to change the learning culture have also captured attention from other national news outlets. NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt, Flocabulary, the Ashton Kutcher Foundation, and Remind all released stories on how Mr. Bonner is utilizing innovative strategies to help counter the negative stereotypes within education.

Since June 2017, Michael has conducted almost 100 keynotes and breakout sessions to educators all across the world. Mr. Bonner is consistently seen as a visionary leader who strives to create a positive mindset among all of his students. He understands that his students come to class each day with diverse backgrounds and strengths and he seeks to identify strategies to ensure the growth of their social, emotional, academic, and psychological needs.

New hire: Troy Kemp

Troy Kemp is leaving the McCallie School to serve as the director of transitions, admissions, and alumni relations at RCA. Kemp has a fierce calling for working with youth. His passion is fueled by his experience growing up in a single parent, migrant worker’s home in Riverhead, New York. Mr. Kemp is an award winning educator, championship coach, and nationally recognized public speaker. Mr. Kemp’s career includes serving as a math teacher, computer coordinator, varsity football assistant, head lacrosse coach, dormitory parent, dean of admission and financial aid, and associate headmaster for enrollment and marketing.

During his tenure in admission, Troy helped the McCallie School establish new records in enrollment and student diversity. One of Troy’s most significant contributions is helping McCallie establish the National Center for the Development of Boys. The organization equips parents, educators, coaches and mentors with research and strategies for helping boys thrive in the classroom and beyond. Mr. Kemp serves as the executive director of the center. During the past three years, he has delivered seminars, keynotes and professional development to over 22,000 parents, educators, coaches, and law enforcement officers in 41 cities and 18 states and 3 countries.

New hire: Dr. Yvette Ledford

Dr. Yvette Ledford has over 17 years of experience and has taught all core subjects during her career. In her current position, she is the director of academic support for Bulloch County Schools, where she oversees K-12 curriculum initiatives and conducts professional development. Additionally, she is the lead for the “Get on the Bus Project,” which focuses on bringing literacy to low socioeconomic areas. Dr. Ledford has a heart for children and she is a gifted writer. She earned her bachelor’s degree in early childhood education, master’s degree in reading education, and doctorate degree in curriculum studies with a minor in multicultural education from Georgia Southern University.

New hire: Tyrel Cooper

Tyrel Cooper recently started working at the Academy on April 8th. At RCA, Cooper serves as an information technology specialist alongside the current director of IT. Tyrel is a graduate of Georgia State University and previously was a data analyst II with technology and communications company, Hodges-Mace. Cooper also has experience as a systems administrator and a network/audio-visual technician. Additionally, he is actively involved in the local Atlanta community as a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated and a previous volunteer at RCA events.

During his tenure as president of his fraternity’s undergraduate chapter, the Zeta Mu Alphas, he successfully led the group to receiving significant accolades such as District & Regional Chapter of the Year, Hobart S. Jarrett Debate Competition Champions, the Phoenix Award (highest honor in Atlanta), as well as a proclamation by the city of Atlanta. Individually, Tyrel was crowned as Mr. Georgia State University, served as a presidential ambassador with The 1913 Society, held various leadership positions in several student organizations, and registered more than 200 community service hours mainly focused toward mentoring.

New hire: Diane Kemp

Diane Kemp is a math and reading specialist who currently serves as director of the Math Academy at the Bright School in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Known for her ability to bring learning to life, Mrs. Kemp’s class is a highly sought-after favorite. Her students have participated in engineering challenges, created socially conscious businesses, pitched inventions in Shark Tank simulations, and won regional stock market and math competitions. Prior to working at Bright, Mrs. Kemp worked at the McCallie School as a learning specialist and served as a dorm parent to hundreds of boys for many years. Mrs. Kemp holds a bachelor of science degree from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and a master of education degree from Tennessee Technological University. She and her husband, Troy, have three children and a grandson.

About the Ron Clark Academy

The Ron Clark Academy is a highly acclaimed, nonprofit middle school in Atlanta that promotes innovation and engages its students through energetic teaching balanced by a strict code of discipline. The Academy seeks to extend its reach beyond its student body by having an impact upon students everywhere. RCA is a demonstration school – a place where visiting educators engage in a vibrant professional development experience by observing best practices in action before participating in hands-on workshops. Over the past 12 years, more than 50,000 superintendents, district-level administrators, and teachers from all 50 states and 26 countries have participated in the RCA Experience professional development program to learn better ways to engage students, promote academic rigor, and create a climate and culture that promotes success.

If you would like more information or to schedule an interview, please contact RCA’s cofounder and executive director Kim Bearden at bearden@ronclarkacademy.com.

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