Clayton Rhodes is a professor at Durham College, where he has been a full time faculty member since 2006.
He joined the school after previously teaching at Centennial College and earned his honours bachelor of arts from York University and his master of arts in education from the University of Phoenix.
In 2021, Rhodes received Durham College’s Faculty Employee Excellence Award.
“What I enjoy about Durham College is the resources that are available to faculty such as the Centre for Teaching and Learning,” he said. As faculty, we’re strongly encouraged to take risks to try new teaching techniques, improve on our teaching practices, engage with other teachers and I think it’s just made me a better version of myself.”
Rhodes was born in North Bay but his family moved to Toronto when he was five.
“We moved back to Toronto because my mom and dad are from Toronto,” he said. “My mom was a stay-at-home mom, my dad worked for the Ministry of Transportation as an auto mechanic. I had a great childhood I played sports I had a lot of friends, I worked part-time. I look back at my childhood quite fondly.”
Rhodes went to elementary school at Lenwood Heights and went to high school at Agincourt Collegiate in Scarborough. Rhodes always had an interest in teaching but he had an incredible journey to get there.
“When I was in high school, I took a course that allowed me to go into a high school for a week.” Rhodes said. “It was like a co-op, and I was there helping out the teacher and being the assistant. It was there when I wanted to teach.”
After graduating from York, he worked in sales for a company that made VHS tapes. He didn’t like the job and began taking night classes at Centennial College, earning a diploma in human resources.
“Then I did night school teaching, and the next year I talked to the Dean of Faculty and Business at Durham College,” he said. “He sent me the postings and I got into teaching at Durham.”
Rhodes has met many colleagues throughout his years at Durham College like Lynn Kennette, a professor of psychology. “As a person he is genuine and kind,” Kennette said.
“He cares about his colleagues, and he is also willing to share ideas and resources. He is also excellent colleague and I feel very fortunate to work with him and to call him a friend.”
“Clayton is student success driven and this feeds into his teaching practices as well as his professional activities with colleagues,” added Nathan Wilson, who is a professor at Durham’s School of Interdisciplinary Studies and Employment Services.
“Former pupils characterize him as someone who’s in it for students as evidenced by his passion for helping learners reach their potential,” said Wilson.
Wilson also mentioned what Rhodes is like as not only a colleague but as a friend.
“Clay has been involved in initiatives that help bolster the student experience. He invigorates his program teams with new thinking, approaches and energy. I, personally, find Clayton always willing to lend an ear to help solve problems and tackle issues that may arise,” he said. “I don’t just consider Clayton a colleague, but also a friend.”
When Rhodes was asked what he hopes people will remember about him when he retires, his response reflected his approach to teaching.
“I would like to think that I helped hundreds of students succeed,” he said. “I hope they continue their learning journey and I hope that I left a positive impressions on not only my students but also my colleagues.”