Position: Professional School Counselor
School: Kenmoor Middle School
School District: Prince George's County Public Schools
City, State: Landover, MD
Music that Describes Dr. William
Dr. William Clay was nominated by Tiffany Spalding, his colleague.
Dr. William "Flip" Clay is one of the world's most dynamic, life-changing professional school counselors. He has a passion for changing lives. In the last 20 years, Dr. Clay has changed so many lives that his work reached the halls of the United States Supreme Court.
"Dr. Clay has changed so many lives, he should change his name to Dr. 'Life-Changing' Clay," said Spalding.
He created "Men of Ardmore," a data-driven elementary male empowerment program consisting of 55 young boys. This program reduced school suspensions by 80% and increased academic proficiency by 75% across three years. The program was so successful that it was featured on the Steve Harvey Morning Show with WHUR 96.3 Howard University.
One parent wrote, "You have no idea how much I appreciate you. You helped my son turn the corner during a time when he could easily go the other way. Thank you for making school feel like a family, not an institution."
A former program participant also wrote, "I would say the program played a big part in me becoming the young man I am today. The program made me realize I was headed in the wrong direction."
Dr. Clay is life-changing. A former student wrote, "I remember going to District Heights Elementary School and being such an angry child due to the abuse and neglect I was experiencing at home, but it was those times that I remember speaking with you that made me feel better. I do not think I ever came out and told you the reality of my life, but even if it was for 30 minutes, you allowed me to breathe. Before this time here on earth is up, I want to say thank you. I appreciate all you have done for me and others."
During his tenure at Charles Carroll Middle School, Dr. Clay implemented three life-changing programs: Charles Carroll Tell 'Em, Men of Carroll, and Women of Carroll.
Charles Carroll Tell'Em was a life-changing Glee Club made up of African American and Latino-American students. During Hispanic Heritage Month, they created a "Hip Hop Video" depicting the life of Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. After completing the video and sending it, Justice Sotomayor accepted the invitation to visit the school. Charles Carroll Middle School was the first educational institution she visited as a Supreme Court Justice. It was a life-changing experience for the school and parents who met Justice Sotomayor, especially for Latino-American students. After her visit, Dr. Clay received correspondence stating, "Mr. Clay, thank you for being such an extraordinary role model and leader." Here is the video: https://youtu.be/ruoxProhZA4.
Women of Carroll was a young girls' empowerment group consisting of middle school students who needed hope, resilience, and encouragement to deal with various issues. These young girls dealt with fatherlessness, abuse, self-harm, and low self-esteem. "As part of his women's group, Dr. Clay encouraged students to express their feelings around those who wronged them. Through this process, students were able to heal from their trauma and grow into confident young adults."
One student wrote, "Thank you for being one of the greatest role models. Thank you for helping me with my troubles; you have changed my life. I have always looked at the bad side, but because of you, I try to look at the good side no matter what. You are the best guidance counselor ever to live. You have not only changed my life, but you have also changed others, and we are grateful. Thank you for being the best person to change our lives and believing in me when I could not believe it myself."
The Men of Carroll was life-changing. This program met every Monday. This space allowed young boys a safe, confidential place to release years of trauma. The stories, tears, and testimonies were life-changing.
Dr. Clay has served his community by working with youth and parents. He has donated countless hours to various churches, non-profits, and community organizations. His impact has been featured in the Washington Post and on various Washington DC, Virginia, and Maryland news stations. Dr. Clay continues to change lives and was recently awarded the 2023 Minority Public Educator of the Year in the State of Maryland. His passion, creativity, innovation, and dedication to students are remarkable. Dr. Clay brings light to a dark place. Dr. Clay has been their hope when they felt hopeless. He has been a lifesaver when they needed life-changing guidance.
"He is more than a LifeChanger. He is a life-giver who keeps on giving and changing lives," said Spalding.
Below is a list of Dr. Clay's professional accomplishments:
Below is a list of books and articles Dr. Clay has published.
Below is a list of media appearances Dr. Clay has made.
Below are letters from students, parents and staff.
"Thank You for teaching me my Mars Manners. I hope you have a good year. I can't wait to hear from you soon," - student
From a student: "Dear Dr. Clay, thank you for being the best school counselor. You listen, and you try to make the person feel better. You give inspiring words to help us, and they work, so thank you."
From a parent: "Hello, Dr. Clay. Through this letter, I want to thank you for the generous attention you have with my daughter and I. I wish with all my heart that God bless you because of your generous heart. May God bless you, and thank you for the gift."
From Linda Jennings: "Dr. Clay's work is very transformative. It helps the older boys to help foster positive relations with the young people. It helps them academically, culturally, and socially. Dr. Clay gives them a sense of self worth as being young African American boys."
From a student: "Hi. This is one of your champion winners of Jeopardy. I just wanted to thank you so much for making Jeopardy a part of me. I'm very proud of myself and all the other classrooms. We all tried hard and put effort into winning. We all had an opportunity to share the moments with Jeopardy, and it's all because of you! Thank you so much for making this possible."