By AMBER NEVILLE
ARTISTIC MOVE: Michele Clancy changed careers to become an art instructor at Nathan Hale High School.
DANIEL C. CAMERON for GTR Newspapers
Michele Clancy is one of two art teachers at Tulsa’s Nathan Hale High School helping to shape young minds. The other art teacher at Hale is Patrick Ryan. While working in graduate admissions at -Tulsa, Clancy chose to change directions and get her certification to teach. She has always had a passion for art and wanted to apply that passion in her career. She realized her desire and once certified, she went right to work. She adds, “I walked into my classroom for the first time the day before school started in 2007.”
Clancy received her bachelor’s of fine arts in computer graphics from the University of Tulsa in 2002 and is alum of Edison Preparatory School, a Tulsa Public School. Clancy received an alternative teaching certification.
Here’s Clancy’s description of the alternate certification process, “I went through the alternative certification process. With this I took two big tests. One was a general educators test and the other test was specified to my field (Art, since I had a with my emphasis in Computer Graphics). After passing the test, I had to go through a panel interview in Oklahoma City where they granted me my first year certification. Your first year with the alternative certification you are on a probation period. You are assigned a university mentor and mine was from TU, since that’s where I got my degree from. You also have a school mentor. Mine was the other art teacher at Nathan Hale, Patrick Ryan. He taught me the ropes, gave me pointers, helped me out and monitored my progress. Then you also have the principle who comes in, observes your classroom, your teaching techniques and how you are doing. Through the year I met with these three people, who gave me pointer and advice. At the end of the year, these three meet once again with you and either recommend to the board of education that you continue to be granted your your certification or not. I was recommended to the board to continue on with my teaching certification.“
When Clancy is not in the classroom, she is active with the ros as an ambassador for the organization. “TYPros was suggested to me and I love it,” she says. Clancy is also active within her church parish and has served as president, vice president, secretary and communications chair for the Young Catholics of Tulsa organization. Clancy’s faith allowed her to study abroad in places such as Italy, Rome, Greece, Turkey, Guatemala, Poland, Czech Republic and Bosnia. While a student at the University of Tulsa, Clancy became active in her sorority, Kappa Delta and also with the Newman Center.
In 2008, Clancy implemented computer graphics into her curriculum with a specific focus on Photoshop. She caught on quickly to a form of art her students really enjoyed, graffiti. Using something the students already were interested in, Clancy was able to give these students a real world applicable skill. Clancy asked her students to draw out their graffiti designs, scan in their work and apply the layering application in Photoshop. The results were fantastic. This year Clancy plans to teach her students how to draw real people by using caricature and graphic design which will lead to a lesson plan of Japanese animation, also known as Anime, coinciding with the graffiti art projects.
Clancy is very much aware that Tulsa Public Schools is working hard to be “the district of choice” and she embraces the goal. “The District of Choice” is the vision of Superintendent Dr. Keith Ballard. Ballard is energizing the entire district with his enthusiasm and leadership. The vision is the creation of specific programs for students interested in careers based on those programs and providing opportunities to gain skill-based knowledge and real life experience. With the implementation of Dr. Ballard’s high school magnet programs, the graduation rate rose from year 2008 to 2009.
A magnet school is a public school with a specialized focus and curriculum. Hale is one of these magnet schools with programs intended to prepare for careers in Hotel and Restaurant Management, Culinary Arts and Health Management. Clancy feels her impact at is significant, especially as an art teacher because it allows for intimacy. She adds, “Being an art teacher, I’m able to sit down and talk to my students while they are working on their assignments and get to know them one on one. I am not just standing and lecturing which is what you mostly have to do in other classroom settings.”
The other three magnet schools are Booker T. Washington, Webster and Central High Schools. is Tulsa’s comprehensive magnet school, focusing on diversity and academic excellence. Webster’s concentration is on digital media and broadcasting. Central is a fine arts magnet.
Clancy suggests to anyone who loves kids and is considering a teaching career to explore the options and to work on “people skills” because the students, particularly older students, will test your limits and patience. She says, “Being able to discipline properly without cracking a smile and maintaining a serious composure is something you must master.” Clancy refers to a student who recently graduated and offered her thanks and praise, “He ran over to me at the graduation ceremony and hugged me exclaiming that I and ‘Mr. Ryan’ had been a huge influence on his life,” almost bringing her to tears. She notes that she does not cry easily. Clancy had never taught prior to accepting her role at Hale High School and is very happy with her decision to become a teacher.
The Tulsa Young Professionals, or “TYPros” is a group of diverse young professionals, whose typical ages range from 21-40, working together to showcase Tulsa as an excellent place to live, work and play. The mission of ros is to retain and attract young talent, while focusing on fostering Tulsa’s next generation of leadership. Membership is free. ros provides its members with opportunities to get in front of and build relationships with local community and business leaders. For more information or to become a member, visit ros Online.
Editor’s Note: Tulsa-area leadership has been working hard over the past few years to keep young professional talent in the region. One organization that has been very effective with these efforts is Tulsa’s Young Professionals, known by its acronym “TYPros.” This is one of an ongoing Newspapers series spotlighting young Tulsa leadership. Greater Tulsa is fortunate to have young talent contributing to its betterment.