Hello there! I'm Michelle Clayton, thrilled to be a part of the Marble City Opera board of directors. I wanted to take a moment to share a bit about myself so that we can get to know each other better.
In my personal life, my heart is filled with love and joy as a devoted wife and a proud parent of two exceptional children. They are not only beautiful but also incredibly kind and talented individuals. When I'm not busy fulfilling my roles as a spouse and parent, music takes center stage in my life. I've been fortunate enough to participate in some incredible musical experiences. For nearly a decade, I was a chorus member with the esteemed Knoxville Opera Company. Those years were unforgettable performances that allowed me to share my passion and talent with audiences. One of the highlights of my musical journey was when I portrayed the character of Sara in the Word Players company's production of Ragtime in 2013. It was an absolute thrill to captivate audiences with the power of music. Additionally, I've had the pleasure of lending my voice as a choral member in the debut performance of Brandon Gibson's breathtaking piece, "I Can't Breathe," with Marble City Opera. Music truly brings me alive!
Beyond my musical pursuits, I greatly indulge in K-dramas and anime. There's something magical about immersing myself in those captivating stories and characters. I'm also an avid baker—I love experimenting with new recipes and creating delicious treats for my loved ones. And, of course, reading is a cherished pastime for me. There's nothing like diving into a good book and getting lost in its pages. But above all, my greatest joy comes from spending quality time with my family. We create beautiful memories together, and their love and support fuel my passions.
Professionally, I've been fortunate to have over 13 years of experience in traditional and non-traditional educational settings. As an educational leader, I've always strived to use my critical thinking skills to make sound decisions, develop effective programs, and foster growth. My career has taken me to residential treatment facilities for substance-addicted teens and juvenile correctional institutions as the campus principal. I directed strategic planning, education, and counseling and guided management and staff. It's been a challenging yet enriching journey. In addition, I've had the privilege of leading comprehensive and alternative public schools for seven years, which has honed my ability to adapt to evolving needs, tackle complex problems, and inspire teams toward a shared vision. I am currently the principal of Richard Yoakley School in Knox County.
Throughout my career, my focus has always been on improving student outcomes and creating equal access to diverse programs for at-risk students. I'm passionate about equipping educators with the tools they need to help their students thrive in the ever-changing job market. With a dedicated team, I've designed effective organizational structures and processes that have made a real impact. I'm excited to bring my leadership experience and expertise to Marble City Opera and contribute to its continued success in fulfilling its objectives.
I believe in the power of collaboration and working together to achieve ambitious goals. I'm confident that with our collective efforts, we can create extraordinary experiences for our community through the magic of theater. I look forward to getting to know each of you and working hand in hand to make a difference.
Thank you for your warm welcome, and I can't wait to embark on this incredible journey with all of you at Marble City Opera!