New Director Introduction
Updated: Dec 8, 2022
Hello MCARLM supporters!
I am so excited to introduce myself as the new Executive Director of the Monterey County Agricultural and Rural Life Museum. My name is Ellie Clifton, and I have been fond of this museum since I was a young girl (I’m still young but you get the point).
Agriculture has always been a passion of mine from growing up on an apple farm in Corralitos, to moving to a ranch in Lockwood in 2nd grade, and then becoming extremely active in FFA during high school. When I graduated from King City High in December of 2016 all I knew was I wanted to pursue a career in ag (thank you Fontes, Souza, Smith, and Benson). I started attending Cuesta in the fall of 2017 with plans of eventually transferring to Cal Poly to get a BA in Plant Science.
God had different plans for me, as a couple weeks into school, I was involved in a bad car accident that left me paralyzed from the waist down. At 17 years old, my life was literally flipped upside down. After over a month in the hospital I was discharged to pick up where I had left off in my life, only this time I depended on 4 wheels to get around.
I gave up on the idea of working in ag because I truly believed that working in dirt fields wouldn’t be possible in a wheelchair. I pursued a degree in Early Childhood Education and very quickly realized this wasn’t where my heart was. I took some time off school and dedicated almost every day of my life to walking again. I lived in Fresno part time to attend physical therapy where I was able to regain some sensation in my legs and some muscle control that allows me to now stand up (something they told me I’d NEVER do again!). When I moved back home, I married my best friend and started working for the school district where I also quickly realized I did not want to stay.
But of course, the Lord works in mysterious ways and through working at KCUSD I was connected with a MCARLM board member who, after working with me, felt like I should apply for this position. It was like the stars aligned.
So, here I am, introducing myself as the new director and getting teary-eyed thinking about how lucky I am to have a job that I am so passionate about and how every obstacle that came at me the last couple of years led me... here.
Thank you, MCARLM, for making my dreams come true, and thank you, Jessica Potts for leaving me a pathway to follow for success. I hope that I can live up to be half of the director you were.
And a note to 17-year-old Ellie: life seems unbearable right now, but I promise, this life becomes everything you could ever want and more.
With a grateful heart,