Ron Clark to Speak at 12th Annual Jim Blanchard Leadership Forum

ron-clarkCOLUMBUS, Ga. — Known to many as "America's Educator," Ron Clark has been announced as the first speaker for the 2017 Jim Blanchard Leadership Forum (JBLF). The two-day event, hosted by the Leadership Institute at Columbus State University, brings the best and brightest minds in the world to Columbus.

Clark is the 2000 Disney American Teacher of the Year, a two-time New York Times best-selling author, the subject of a television movie and the founder of The Ron Clark Academy. He is regularly featured on network and cable television, including The Today Show, CNN and Oprah.

Clark brings charisma, energy and devotion to the education profession. He pioneered innovative projects in rural North Carolina, working with minority students in a low-wealth area. His highly effective programs garnered national attention and led to a White House invitation to be honored by the President of the United States.

Upon watching a television piece chronicling low test scores and the lack of teachers in inner-city New York, Clark packed his car and moved to Harlem. After being warned by the principal that his class was the least disciplined group she had seen in years, he prepared himself by visiting the home of each student before the first day of school. He involved his students in projects in the city and state, and his "low achievers" soon began to excel. By the end of the year, their scores were higher than the “gifted” classes in his district.

In 2003, Clark released the New York Times best-selling book, "The Essential 55," which includes his 55 expectations of students—as well as all individuals—young and old. His second book, "The Excellent 11," was released in August 2004 and further captured the attention of parents, educators and students alike.

In 2006, Clark founded The Ron Clark Academy, an inner-city school serving students from across metro Atlanta. The privately-funded institution is unique for its innovative teaching methods and curriculum based on world-wide travel. Each year the students, grades 5-8, apply their in-class lessons to international adventures. By graduation, each child will have visited six of the seven continents. Teachers from around the world visit the Academy to observe the innovative and "out-of-the-box" methods for achieving student success.

His most anticipated book came in 2011, "The End of Molasses Classes: Getting Our Kids Unstuck—101 Extraordinary Solutions for Parents and Teachers." This New York Times best-seller brought to light 101 innovative and classroom-tested ways for improving America’s schools and leading our children to greatness.

Clark will speak at the 2017 JBLF, themed “Inspired Leadership.” The event will be held Monday-Tuesday, August 28-29, at the Columbus Convention and Trade Center. Individual tickets to the two-day event are $529 and tables of eight are $4,200. To purchase tickets or tables, visit

New speakers will be announced every month. Follow JBLF on Facebook or visit for updates.