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AJC Celebrating teachers honoree: Celeste McNeil Clark

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is proud to announce its annual community recognition program – the AJC Celebrating Teachers Awards. We believe the very best of the best are worth honoring and giving them the recognition they deserve. This will be a moment of significant pride for the honoree, their family and school.

Celeste McNeil Clark believes in the power of literacy.

As a founding teacher at KIPP STRIVE Academy, she has worked to foster a classroom atmosphere that inspires students’ love for learning, confidence in their reading ability and conviction in their writing skills.

»See more of the AJC Celebrating Teachers honorees here

Her teaching career began 13 years ago with Teach for America in eastern North Carolina. She would later move back to her hometown of Atlanta. Ever since her return home, she has taught English and worked on her craft of poetry. She has performed her poetry at the Elevating and Celebrating Effective Teaching and Teachers Conference, Teach For America’s Story Slam and the annual fundraiser for Odyssey Atlanta. Her poetry is a personal passion and one she shares with her students. Clark now curates STRIVE’s annual poetry slam, publishes students’ work in collaboration with the Wren’s Nest and coaches school’s Reading Bowl team.

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Clark, who holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Clemson University and a reading specialist master’s degree from Mercer University, said she has a number of people she owes for her success as an educator.

She said she owes her creative spirit to her mother, her work ethic to her father and her perseverance in the education field to her STRIVE family, her best friend and her husband who “always keeps the light on for her.”

As a founding teacher at KIPP STRIVE Academy, she has worked to foster a classroom atmosphere that inspires students’ love for learning, confidence in their reading ability and conviction in their writing skills.

Her teaching career began 13 years ago with Teach for America in eastern North Carolina. She would later move back to her hometown of Atlanta. Ever since her return home, she has taught English and worked on her craft of poetry. She has performed her poetry at the Elevating and Celebrating Effective Teaching and Teachers Conference, Teach For America’s Story Slam and the annual fundraiser for Odyssey Atlanta. Her poetry is a personal passion and one she shares with her students. Clark now curates STRIVE’s annual poetry slam, publishes students’ work in collaboration with the Wren’s Nest and coaches school’s Reading Bowl team.

Clark, who holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Clemson University and a reading specialist master’s degree from Mercer University, said she has a number of people she owes for her success as an educator. She said she owes her creative spirit to her mother, her work ethic to her father and her perseverance in the education field to her STRIVE family, her best friend and her husband who “always keeps the light on for her.”

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