Gretchen Cleevely


Gretchen Cleevely is a 2015 graduate of Washington and Lee University School of Law. She holds a Master of Educational Psychology in Special Education from the University of Oklahoma and a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Miami University of Ohio. Ms. Cleevely joined Tharrington Smith’s Education Law Section in 2016.

Prior to law school, Ms. Cleevely served as a K-5 special education teacher and advisor for public schools in Norman, Oklahoma, and as theater teacher for at-risk students in New York City. During her time in Oklahoma, she was honored as her school’s Teacher of the Year in 2010 and served as head of its Special Education Department from 2009 to 2011. Her experience uniquely qualifies her to work with public school board clients. She joins the growing majority of Tharrington Smith’s education law attorneys who are former educators and thought leaders.

Unique to our Education Law Section, Gretchen is an accomplished actress, having landed parts in the popular cable series Sex in the City, television’s Law & Order and on the “big screen” in Paramount’s Failure to Launch. Her interest in the arts is life long.



  • Washington and Lee University School of Law
    Lexington, Virginia
    Juris Doctor, 2015
  • The University of Oklahoma
    Norman, Oklahoma
    Master of Educational Psychology, Special Education, 2008
  • Miami University of Ohio
    Oxford, Ohio
    Bachelor of Fine Arts, Magna Cum Laude, 2005
    Miami University Alumni Scholar: Western Theatre Scholarship for Creative and Academic Promise

Scholarly Recognition

  • Washington and Lee University School of Law Quarterfinalist; John W. Davis Appellate Advocacy Best Brief Competition 2013

Memberships & Admissions

  • North Carolina State Bar, Member 2015
  • Wake County Bar Association, Member 2015
  • 10th Judicial District Bar, Member 2015
  • American Bar Association, Member 2015
  • North Carolina Bar Association, 2015
  • North Carolina Bar Association, Education Law Section, 2015

Legal Experience

  • disAbility Law Center of Virginia, Richmond, VA
    October 2015 – October 2016; Legal Research Assistant
  • North Carolina State Board of Education, Raleigh, N.C.
    Summer 2014 Legal Intern
  • Cooperative Council Oklahoma School Administration, Oklahoma City, OK
    Summer 2013 Legal Intern

Practice Areas:

Education Law


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Scholastic Recognition & Appointments

  • McKinley Elementary School Teacher of the Year, 2010
  • McKinley Elementary School Special Education Department Head, 2009-2011
  • McKinley Elementary Data Team, 2009-2011
  • McKinley Elementary Intervention Team, 2009-2011
  • Norman Public Schools Math Advisory Board, 2007-2010
  • Norman Public Schools Special Education Math Presenter, 2009-2010

Scholastic Employment

  • McKinley Elementary School, Norman, OK; 2007–2011
    Teacher for Students with Learning Disabilities, (Grades K-5), 2009-2011
  • Teacher for Students with Emotional Disabilities (Grades K-3), 2007-2009
    Public School Repertory Company, New York City, NY; 2000-2002;
  • Theatre Teacher for At-Risk Students (Grades 9-12)

Theater & Film

  • Television, Film & Theatre:
    Failure to Launch, Paramount Pictures, 2006; Law and Order, Trial By Jury, 2005; Sex in the City, HBO, 2001; Juno and the Paycock, Roundabout Theatre Company, John Crowley, dir., 2000; Impossible Marriage, Roundabout Theatre Company, Stephen Wadsworth, dir., 1998; Curse of the Starving Class, Signature Theatre Company, Jim Houghton, dir., 1997; La Ronde, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Joanne Woodward, dir., 1997.
  • Acting Awards:
    Helen Hayes Award for Excellence in Washington, D.C. Theatre, Nominee, 1998; Elliot Norton Award for Excellence in Boston Theatre, Winner, Outstanding Actress, 1997; Irene Ryan National Acting Award for Outstanding College Student Performer, Kennedy Center, Washington, D.C., 1994.

Our Education Law Attorneys