learning by heart ➤ continued from page 51
The thing is that so many schools you encounter—they’re all
beige. There’s nothing that establishes them from a prison.
We understand when educators come in they can’t all have
a dragon skeleton that reaches towards the sky and
murals sticking out. But they do still have the opportunity
to have color.”
—Kim Bearden, co-founder of Ron Clark Academy
When the school’s expansion plans were just beginning, Mannington
Commercial CEO Russell Grizzle heard Clark speak at a Georgia Manufacturing
Association convention, and approached him after the show. “He said, ‘Ron, we’re
going to do whatever we can to help you,’” Bearden recalls. “And he was so true
to his word that not only did they provide all the flooring in the new facility, but for
the existing space as well.”
In the end, Mannington put their entire product portfolio to work: LVT, rubber
tile, stair treads, engineered wood, VCT, porcelain, wall base—but nothing quite so
special as the carpet.
In June 2014, Mannington’s Vice President of Brand Development and Creative
Product Natalie Jones went to the RCA eighth-grade graduation, where she
witnessed a surprise announcement: three boys from Soweto, South Africa—
Phakamani Qandashe, Sisipho Mehlo, and Sabelo Hlatshwayo, whom the students
had met on a school trip 2 months prior—were now being welcomed as students
at RCA, and soon to be Kim Bearden’s adopted sons.
Speaking after the event, Bearden told Jones about the boys’ fascination with
the use of carpet, after having grown up in a world where interiors were made of
dirt and concrete.