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Valley's Top Teacher, Willie Clay, Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary School

Mr. Willie Clay has been a teacher with Huntsville City Schools for 54 years.

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Fifty-four. It's the number of years this educator has put into Huntsville City schools. Meet this week's Valley's Top Teacher, Mr. Willie Clay of Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary School. That school has been home for more than ten years, but he's been with Huntsville Schools since 1969...that's 54 years.

Mr. Clay does Math Intervention, helping students who may be struggling with math. And he says the learning gaps following COVID didn't help.

"It just didn't work that well for me," said Clay, "Now some people it might work well for, and I didn't like it, and the kids missed a lot on that."

But his principal, Cheryl Askew, says he didn't miss a beat.

"He does not miss a day. People of a certain age, don't know much about computers. So when we went on lockdown, Mr. Clay made sure he knew how to get on computers, he knew how to get on the computers, he knew how to get on Zoom." said Principal Ashew.

So what inspires Mr. Clay? 

"What happened today with one of my students comes back to me, and tell me that I was a big help to them. Can't beat that." Clay said.

And he's not planning to leave his students anytime soon. He may retire someday, but Clay says, "When I can, right now I can't. But when I can I will. I don't know what I'm going to do next, but I enjoy this."

Fifty-four years is a long time for anyone to be in the classroom, and Mr. Willie Clay sets the record for our longest-serving Valley's Top Teacher!

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