Camelot Education Alumnus Clint Gibbs Joins Santa Rosa Staff as Classroom Counselor
Camelot Education is a place for transformation. Just ask Clint Gibbs, a first-year classroom counselor at Camelot Academy of Santa Rosa. Eight years ago, he sat in the very same classrooms as the students he now assists.
“When I was a Camelot student in 2012, their model was something that I needed,” says Gibbs. “It offered my classmates and me a lot of love, a lot of commitment, and it helped tremendously.”
Current executive director Carl Blackmon remembers Gibbs the student well. Blackmon was Gibbs’ physical education teacher back then and saw something special in the student.
“He was always the outspoken kid. Never quiet, never shy. These qualities would instantly bond him to his classmates and staff,” said Blackmon. “He was in a difficult place in his life at the time. But, we knew he was a good kid just by talking with him.”
Camelot Academy of Santa Rosa uses a framework that meets students at their emotional, academic, and cognitive levels and designs the learning environment to minimize triggers, develop new communication and self-advocacy strategies, teach replacement strategies, and foster academic growth and reinforce therapeutic supports. The school is designed with smaller classroom sizes and increased counseling support to help students develop skills and techniques they can use when they transition back to their home schools.
When hiring staff members, Camelot seeks out educators who can relate to the students they will teach. Former students can be excellent candidates because they are intimately familiar with the often broad and significant challenges Camelot students grapple with outside of school. They can connect with students and understand their individual needs, challenges, and strengths in a way that fosters deep and trusting relationships.
Gibbs came to Camelot as a student after experiencing challenges at home. He grew up without his father and didn’t know how to channel the resulting frustrations. His teachers and counselors at Camelot helped him understand his emotional responses and provided him with strategies to control how he reacted to difficult situations.
When Blackmon and operations director Toscca Madison learned that Gibbs was working in education, they decided he would be an excellent fit for the new Camelot Academy of Santa Rosa.
“I knew this would be right up his alley,” said Blackmon.
“He’s familiar with our passion and what we try to do at Camelot,” said Madison, who is Gibbs’ supervisor. “We take kids from one place in their life and help them go to a better place.”
Drawing on his past experiences with the school, Gibbs knows how to relate to his students.
“I feel that my students respond well to me,” Gibbs says. “This is important because my role as a counselor is to help my students cope with similar challenges I had as a student, including offering problem-solving skills support to help them focus on learning.”
Students are inspired to hear that Gibbs was once in their shoes.
“While some students didn’t believe that I was once a Camelot student, I always tell them to stay on the right track, and you will be able to do anything.”
This kind of attitude is what will make Gibbs a valuable staff member for years to come. As Blackmon put it, “Mr. Gibbs’ future at Camelot is very bright.”