NORTH ADAMS — MCLA announced that Jean Clarke-Mitchell, assistant professor of Social Work at Lesley University, has been nominated to the MCLA board of trustees. A 2000 alumna of MCLA, she is also in her second term on the college’s foundation board.
Clarke-Mitchell is a licensed clinical social worker who served as the clinical director of the Elizabeth Freeman Center, and an outpatient clinician at the Brien Center for Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services. With more than 20 years of experience in the clinical field and more than 10 years in academia, she looks forward to participating on the board.
“I am very excited and feel very privileged and honored to be chosen to not only represent my alma mater but also to represent future students. To be on the board is monumental to me,” she said. “I’m feeling there is a lot to be done, and I’m hoping I can make an impact in so many ways. There are so many intersections to me and my experiences, and I want that to be something that I can bring to the table that will make a difference.”
Clarke-Mitchell has an extensive resume in social justice activism and working with community organizations, including the Rights of Passage and Empowerment program as a senior mentor. She serves as a board member on Rockfort Moving Forward, Leadership Councils of Western Massachusetts, the Albany Assoc. for Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy, and the Massachusetts Women of Color Network.
“Having Dr. Jean Clarke-Mitchell on the board of trustees is a tremendous delight,” MCLA President James Birge said. “I’m confident that her experiences and education will expand the dynamics and work of the board.”
Clarke-Mitchell has invested many years in helping, advocating for, and educating others, including trauma and sexual-assault survivors, survivors of intimate-partner violence, and adults struggling with substance use and mental-health disorders.
“Just being a woman of color, I can bring a perspective that is not often considered. When I think of that, I think about how we can retain professors of color and welcome students of color,” she said. “How do we honor those people in our society? How do we manage the funds of the college and what we’re invested in? The perspectives which I bring are not always present.”
Prior to teaching at Lesley, Clarke-Mitchell taught social work and psychology at Westfield State University, Smith College, Cambridge College, and Elms College. She has worked with groups in South Africa, taught students in Ghana, and conducted presentations on healthy relationships and self-care in Jamaica. She continues to affect positive change by teaching social work full-time and continuing to develop effective social-work practitioners.
“When we consider different decisions that have to be made, I can have a voice at the table,” she said. “I have a lot of appreciation and respect for people who felt they should nominate me.”