John Clark,

John Clarke began teaching high school English in Massachusetts in 1966 and continued to love teaching for 40 years. He moved to Vermont in 1977 to teach secondary education and help run a teaching improvement program at the University of Vermont. He joined the research team in the Secondary Initiative at Brown University's Education Alliance and Lab at Brown, focusing on student engagement and high school personalization. He helped create a system of professional development schools in Vermont, linking teacher preparation to long-term school improvement initiatives. For more than 20 years, he has been working to increase student engagement at Mount Abraham Union Middle/High School in Bristol, Vermont -- making presentations, teaching graduate courses, conducting research, conducting school development workshops, and serving on the school board. Currently, he now volunteers as a consultant, writing tutor and community mentor, developing a personalized pathway to graduation for students who are disengaged from conventional classrooms and practices. He has written, co-written or edited ten books on high school teaching and the process of educational reform, as well as many articles.
Biography from

I first encountered John Clarke as a teaching intern at Mt. Abraham UMHS in 2000.  He was assisting Mary Sullivan, our cohort coordinator for the UVM Post-Bauchelorette Teacher Liscensure program as well as teaching a course in the program.  I drank his Kool-Aid on Day One, and continue to believe in what he believes is the best for learning environments and young, developing minds - personalized learning.  OVer these years, he has developed a continum of learning, from developing the ideas of how learning skills create the ability of the brain to construct knowledge to using community mentors to provide experiences for reinforcing concepts and habits of mind.  Why I believe John is a leader is because he has continued to work on the front lines of educational reform for more than 30 years. He noticed that he was not reaching the young minds sitting in front of him and knew that as a learner, he had not been reached in a way that led him to relevant and authentic learning.  His work at UVM was groundbreaking and difficult and frustrating, but he kept at it.  This persistence is what makes John such a significant leader and contributor to the face of educational reform today.  He chose to reach his audiences in so many ways - teaching courses, severing on baords, writing books.  IT is in this spirit that I enrolled in this course so that I can expand my skill set to find ways to share my experiences and ideas and thoughts on how all schools can incorporate aspects of personalized learning.  John has served as a constant in my educational professional development.  He continues to encourage me, provide me with words of wisdom and supports when I try something new, fail and need shoring up afterwards.  He is my mentor and I believe that this is ultimate expression of leadership; showing someone else how to lead.