Member of Dean’s Advisory Board
School of Education
October 1, 2009
Caring, Commitment, and Collaboration Define Educator’s Career
Dr. Linda McCorkel Clinard thought she wanted to become a nurse…until she helped in a fourth grade classroom as a senior in high school in Rensselaer, Indiana.
Three boys in the fourth grade class showed little interest in learning until the teacher asked Linda to “try whatever you think will get them interested.” Linda asked the boys what they wanted to do for a career someday. They loved sports and wanted to become professional players and coaches. As they struggled with assignments, she would ask questions and suggest examples of how the reading, writing, and other skills would help them become successful players and coaches in the future.
It worked! They started trying and were completing more work when they saw how what they were learning would help them achieve their future goals. They responded so positively when I would tell them what they were doing RIGHT instead of what they were doing wrong. They all started showed significant academic growth that year.
Dr. Clinard earned her B.A. in Education with co-majors in Psychology and Science at Biola University in La Mirada, California, in 1964. Following graduation, she taught fifth grade at Orchard Dale Elementary School in East Whittier (1964-65) where she remembers the outstanding in-service reading/language arts workshops that helped her address the wide range of needs in her class of 39 students. In 1965 she returned to the Midwest and taught fourth and fifth grades at Lincoln Elementary School in Mundelein, Illinois until 1967.
The 1967-69 school years were a significant turning point in Dr. Clinard’s life. She had been hired to teach fifth grade at the elementary school on Kadena Air Force Base in Okinawa. At the first faculty meeting, teachers were asked if anyone would be willing to be reassigned to become the “Reading-English Language Teacher.” There were many students who needed special reading support, and there was a small group of students — Vietnamese, Japanese, Korean, and Chinese speakers — who did not speak English.
Linda volunteered to be reassigned, but Wendell Buntain, the assistant principal, asked what she intended to do to help the students who couldn’t speak English and English speakers who couldn’t read. He decided to give her the reassignment when she said she was willing to help clean out the janitor’s closet to create her classroom and would start by learning what the students could read and write.
Based on what I discovered, I intended to build on existing strengths and then explore what my students needed to know to become successful.
When Mr. Buntain became principal in 1968 of Kinser Junior High, a new school on a Seabees base on Okinawa, he invited Dr. Clinard to become the reading teacher. The subsequent year, 1968-69, was one of her most memorable years as an educator, followed by a year teaching fourth grade on Babenhausen Army Base in Germany.
Dr. Clinard earned an M.S. in Reading Education (1970-71) at Indiana University where she was mentored by outstanding reading and curriculum researchers including Drs. Leo Fay, Roger Farr, and Norman Overly. Following her graduate work, Dr. Clinard was a Reading Specialist in New City, New York, from 1971-72 and served as elementary Reading Specialist for the Plymouth-Canton (Michigan) School District from 1972-78.
Dr. Clinard earned her Ph.D. from The University of Michigan in 1979 in Curriculum and Instruction and Teacher Education with a research study that demonstrated the importance of teacher educators modeling in their classes what teachers-in-training should implement as they taught. After her first book, The Reading Triangle: Parents-Teachers-Students, was published in 1983, Dr. Clinard became a regular contributor on the popular WJR radio Warren Pierce talk show in Detroit until 1988 and appeared occasionally on Michigan TV talk shows as the local Reading Specialist.
From 1978 to1987, Dr. Clinard taught part-time as Distinguished Lecturer for Michigan State University, Southeast Michigan MSU campus in Birmingham, Michigan. From 1987 to 1988 she was Adjunct Assistant Professor at the University of Michigan School of Education before her family moved to Irvine, California, in spring of 1988.
By Fall 1988, Dr. Clinard had been invited to teach in the UC Irvine teacher credential program, and she taught elementary and secondary Reading education courses from 1988-2000.
During her association with UC Irvine, Dr. Clinard has pursued numerous collaborations to further school-university partnerships and teacher professional development. As Secondary Program Coordinator from 1992-93, Dr. Clinard worked with Mary Roosevelt, Elementary Program Coordinator, to launch the UC Irvine Professional Development School (PDS) network of K-12 schools where University Associates (Master Teachers) were trained to mentor UCI teacher candidates to become reflective practitioners.
During 1993 and 1994, Dr. Tamar Ariav, visiting professor/researcher from Beit Berl College in Israel, and Dr. Clinard collaborated in a UCI/PDS research project exploring the impact of the professional development school model on teacher mentors and school partnerships. In addition to AERA presentations and papers, two articles were published: (1) “From Cooperating Schools to Professional Development: A Chance to Improve Teacher Education and Schools” (Ariav, T., and Clinard, L. (2000). Dapim, 31, pp.148-178 [in Hebrew]) and (2) “What Mentoring Does for Mentors: A Cross-Cultural Perspective,” co-authored with Dr. Tamar Ariav, Beit Berl College, Israel (2000), European Journal of Teacher Education, 21(1). (Dr. Ariav became president of Beit Berl College in 2008 and continues to be committed to the importance of collaborating with partnership schools in teacher training.)
In July 2000, Dr. Clinard became Regional Director of the UC Irvine/Orange County California Reading and Literature Project (CRLP) in the UCI Center for Educational Partnerships where she worked with a team of regional university and school leaders to offer PreK-12 professional development to develop teacher leaders in partnership districts. Between 2002-2004, she worked with Nancy Brynelson in the California State University Center for the Advancement of Reading in the early development and implementation of the CSU Reading Institutes.
Beginning in 2003 and continuing through 2007, CRLP team collaborated with UCI Science and Math project leaders and early childhood leaders in Compton, Santa Ana, and Newport-Mesa school districts to offer the NSF-funded PreK/K Leadership Institute as part of the UCI Center for Educational Partnerships FOCUS! grant (Faculty Outreach Collaborations Uniting Scientists, Students, and Schools). As part of this grant, the “Science and Math Integrating Literacy in Early Childhood” (SMILE) video was produced as a resource for Early Childhood Educators and is available through the National Science Foundation Math-Science Partnership web site: http://focus.mspnet.org/index.cfm/17547; UCTV/UC San Diego: http://www.uctv.tv/search-details.aspx?showID=14224; and YouTube where it has received a 5-Star rating with over 5000 hits: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lNG6dTW9X70
Additionally, Dr. Clinard collaborated with Dr. Deborah Mercier of Concordia University to explore the impact of professional development integrating literacy, science and math for PreK/K educators. Their AERA paper is posted on the NSF Math Science Partnerships web site: http://focus.mspnet.org/index.cfm/15320. Dr. Clinard also collaborated with a team of outstanding early childhood educators (Olivia Aguayo, Laura Barnett, Maria Cristina Cendoya, Irene Carpio de Torres, Yoly Donis, Olivia Garcia) who participated in the 2003-2007 NSF FOCUS! PreK/K Leadership Institute to draft an article in Summer, 2009 to share highlights and reflections from the institute: “Early Childhood Educators Become Collaborative Leaders Integrating and Implementing Math, Science, and Literacy Strategies with Children and Families.” Their paper is available on the NSF/MSP web site: http://focus.mspnet.org/index.cfm/18107
Dr. Clinard was honored to participate in 2007 as Southern California Research Facilitator for Project READS (Reading Enhances Achievement During the Summer), a research project directed by Dr. Jimmy Kim of Harvard University and funded through the W. T. Grant Foundation (http://www.wtgrantfoundation.org/our_grantees/browse_grants/Grant_Detail?GranteeProjectID=8130)
Dr. Clinard retired from UC Irvine in 2007 and has been fortunate to continue to work with early childhood educators, families, and community leaders to support early literacy. She currently is a consultant and trainer with the Children and Families Commission of Orange County, (http://occhildrenandfamilies.org/) Early Literacy Program (http://www.earlyliteracyprogramoc.org/), and other community organizations. She was honored to be invited to join the UCI Department of Education Leadership Council in 2009 and serve as a member of the California Science Center (http://www.californiasciencecenter.org/) Orange County Science Excellence Committee.
Dr. Clinard’s second book, Family Time Reading Fun-PreK-Grade 4, demonstrates her continued commitment to support parents as partners in developing literacy in everyday, meaningful contexts. Her book is used as a resource in family literacy workshops (http://www.cfep.uci.edu/crlp/ELFdescrp.php and http://www.cfep.uci.edu/crlp/ftrf/).
Dr. Clinard welcomes the opportunity to communicate with educators and families, especially when English is not their primary language. She shares stories of her mother who came from Mexico at age 8 in the mid-1920s and became a proficient English speaker and writer. Linda also shares memories of speaking Spanish with her grandmother who lived with their family until she died when Linda was 13 and tells parents that she hopes they give their children the gift of two languages…a gift she lost after her grandmother died.
Dr. Clinard has been honored with the state of Michigan “International Reading Association Literacy Award” in 1988, the “Outstanding Literacy Award” from the Orange County Reading Association in 2001, and the California Reading Association Margaret Lynch Community Service Award in November 2003.
She is most grateful for the support and love of her family through her professional journey. John and Linda met while students at Indiana University and have been married 37 years. They are the proud parents of Anne and identical twins Jeff and Trevor.