Michael Bonner, The Ron Clark Academy
Michael Bonner was a teacher at North Carolina's South Greenville Elementary, where many students face food insecurity, challenging family dynamics and even homelessness. This fall, he will start as a fourth grade teacher at The Ron Clark Academy.
In 2017, Bonner was recognized by Ellen DeGeneres for his positive and innovative educational approaches. DeGeneres presented Bonner and his school with equipment to assist in the creation of educational music videos, and Walmart chipped in $25,000. “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” also created a GoFundMe page for South Greenville Elementary that has raised over $88,000 for the Title I school.
Shortly after appearing on the show, DeGeneres brought Bonner and 20 students from his class to Los Angeles to make a professional music video with Big Sean, Ice Cube, Migos, Ty Dolla Sign and Lin Manuel Miranda. Walmart then awarded Bonner’s class another $20,000 to help improve the students’ learning environment.
Bonner’s efforts to change the learning culture at his school have also captured the attention of “NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt,” Flocabulary, the Ashton Kutcher Foundation and Remind, which featured Bonner’s innovative strategies for countering negative stereotypes within education.
With only six years in K-12 education, Bonner has been called a visionary leader who strives help all students create a positive mindset. He understands that his students come to class each day with diverse backgrounds, strengths, needs and challenges, and seeks to identify strategies to ensure the growth of their social, emotional, academic and psychological needs.
Since June 2017, Bonner has conducted almost 100 keynotes and breakout sessions for educators worldwide.