Clare Wiley made a lasting impression on the students, staff and faculty of River City High School in the eight years she taught there as a science teacher. Clare’s passion for biology led her to transform her biology curriculum to be more interactive and student-centered. She also served as a mentor to students who were competing in science and technology competitions, started a biotechnology elective, and founded the PLTW Biomedical Sciences program, which now serves over 350 students per year.
When Clare was diagnosed with leiomyosarcoma in 2003, her community at River City High School was devastated by the news. As a way of sharing her journey, Clare started a blog, which she also used to correspond with her students when she was no longer able to be in the classroom. In her blog, she recounted her excitement at the growth of the school’s Biomedical Science Pathways program, writing on her blog, “I am so proud to be part of the amazing, growing team of teachers, students and graduates.” Despite her long journey with leiomyosarcoma, Clare’s blog reflected her upbeat spirit and determination to return to her students. She was even able to use her own health struggles as examples and lessons to her students’ to further their learning.
“Clare was a phenomenal teacher and person,” said Rick Pomeroy, Lecturer and Supervisor for the School of Education. “It’s rare that one of our own leaves us so young after having such a large impact on the lives of students in our are, not to mention our faculty here and her family.”
In December 2015, River City High School dedicated former science “G” Building to Clare and renamed it Wiley Hall in her honor. This building will serve as a reminder to students and faculty of Clare’s dedication to science, her students and the River City High School community. It’s a fitting tribute to Clare, who said in her blog, “I’d like to be remembered as a teacher who cared about her students. If they know that someone cares for them perhaps they’ll turn around and care for another.”
View a video here made by a dear friend of Clare’s during her battle with leiomyosarcoma to highlight her bright personality and supportive community of friends and family.