Meet our Administrators:
Meet an Administrator: Michaela Clancy
Position: Special Education Director
Years in Education: 20
Years at Clover Park: First year
Can you provide some background on your educational career?
I started as a classroom aide in a pre-K classroom when I was still an undergrad. I was not on an educational track but fell in love with the career. I became a general education teacher, a special educator, then a school psychologist and a counselor before becoming a principal and program administrator. My career has spanned Highline School District, Seattle School District, a private school and I just came over to Clover Park this past July.
What caused you to fall in love with teaching?
It was really figuring out the puzzles of “how do we help a child learn?” And, it was always about the individual kids and collectively figuring out how we can help a student learn to their full potential. It’s just addictive.
What do you do in your position?
I provide support to our supervisors, our principals, our families and our consulting teachers who work with all of our teachers districtwide to make sure we're providing proper services within the district. It’s about maximizing student potential.
What is the difference in your job between a big district like Seattle and a more medium-sized one like Clover Park?
Being able to pick up the phone and have a relationship with the principal to solve a problem together is something I'm really appreciating. We all know each other. We meet monthly. Across 107 schools in Seattle, that was much more of a challenge.
Is there anything that has stood out about Clover Park that you don’t necessarily find at other districts?
We have a pretty incredible supervisor team. And, I'd say my surprise in coming to Clover Park was how incredibly talented, experienced and how different they are. The support we can provide because of those four supervisors is something I certainly didn't expect when I came to the district and it's been a real resource.
What makes them such a strong team?
They have such a wide variety of educational backgrounds, experiences and. They are four very different people and bringing that together in our entire system and special education districtwide has been very powerful and not something I knew or expected when I came here.
Where did you go to college and how did that shape your journey into education?
I am a University of Washington undergrad and have done graduate work at Seattle University and now Seattle Pacific University’s executive leadership program. I love to learn and I think that’s what I share with our students. I believe in lifelong learning. I became a school psychologist to figure out a puzzle for a kid with autism. Every degree, every class I take, every opportunity is really about another puzzle to help a student learn.
What motivates you to do what you do?
It goes back to that original purpose, which was maximizing students’ ability to learn, providing all of those supports and figuring out what is needed. For example, at Dower right now, we needed to provide support for a student, and I know already that the student is learning in a different way than just a week ago. So that passion, it goes back to the original purpose of helping students learn.
How can you help create create promising futures?
I believe in advocacy at our system level. I've been spending a great deal of time thinking about our special education funding at the state level and nationally. I sit on a national advisory board for our field to make sure we're advocating. It really is making sure we have the resources and training we need and that I'm paying attention to all of those pieces so our teachers can teach and our supervisors and consulting teachers can support them.
What is the best part of your job?
I just received a letter from a family I worked with when their student was in fifth grade. We weren't sure that he would finish fifth grade math. He was really struggling and now he is an International Baccalaureate graduate. It’s those kind of stories that make me love this job.
What are your hobbies?
My husband and I are involved in Artist Trust, which is a charitable organization for artists. They provide scholarships and grants, but also sort of business training for artists, and we've been involved for some time. He's been a board member on and off, so that's been a great thing that we've been involved in. We are also community gardeners. We've just found the Lakewood community garden and we're super excited about that!