Clark leaving school board after 30 years

Published 1:30 am Saturday, November 3, 2012

Whether it’s constructing a utility trailer or while sitting on the school board, John Clark is man who believes in building a good foundation.

He said that’s the reason he became involved in the Covington County Board of Education. On Tuesday, Clark, a former board president and owner of Clark Trailer Co., will be honored for his 32 years of services to area students.

He was appointed to the seat in 1980. Two years later, he ran a successful campaign and was elected to the seat that, after next week, will be occupied by Sonny Thomasson.

“I never taught school,” Clark said. “A lot of people think you have to teach to be on the school board, but that’s not true. I like to think that I brought some business sense to the board. I really learned a lot about what it takes to run a school.”

Clark said it was “eye-opening” to see how schools function.

“And then there was what it took to finance a school, and it seemed like that was a challenge ever year,” he said.

Clark said he applied his business policy to the workings of the school board.

“I’ve always said, ‘If you hire good people and you stand behind them, then you get good results,’” he said. “That went for superintendents, principals, teachers and staff – we all worked together, and I soon figured out that the school system is no better than the people you hire to run it.”

Clark said he’s had one motivation throughout his tenure on the school board.

“The children,” he said. “I always worked with the thought to put the children first. Every vote I ever made, I made on the side of the kids; not on the side of the school board, the superintendent or anyone else.”

Clark said he is the most proud of the physical accomplishments of the board.

“We have finally got the schools in the best shape they’ve been in since being built,” he said. “They’re that way because of all the people we have appointed and worked with. In my time, we’ve also built a lot of new schools. In the 30 years on the board, they look a lot different than when came on. It’s not because of one thing I’ve done personally, but because of what we did as a group.”

A reception will be held in Clark’s honor on Tues., Nov. 6, at 5:30 p.m., at the central office on C.C. Baker Avenue.