The Daviess County Public Schools Board of Education will host a reception to honor Mike Clark at 3 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 15, at the DCPS Central Office, 1622 Southeastern Parkway. The reception is open to the public. Family, friends, and current and former colleagues are invited to attend. Light refreshments will be served. The program will begin with brief remarks by DCPS Superintendent Matt Robbins and others who have worked with Clark over the years, followed by an opportunity for those in attendance to share memories and words of appreciation with the honoree. Clark, who retired on Oct. 2 after eight years of service as a member of the Board, including two years as chairman, stepped down after moving his residence outside his area of representation.
He began his career in education at a boarding school for boys near Detroit, Michigan; served in West Africa as a missionary and a member of the Peace Corps, and then joined the faculty at a Notre Dame preparatory school for boys.
He has served DCPS as a teacher and administrator for more than 30 years, starting as a chemistry teacher at Apollo High School in 1963 and later as principal at Daviess County Middle School. He retired as principal at Burns Middle School in 2000. Altogether, he worked as a professional educator in public and parochial schools for 47 years.
He and his wife Rose are the parents of three children, including a daughter who has Down syndrome, which led to his become the co-founder of Dream Riders of Kentucky. His advocacy on behalf of the disabled earned him the prestigious Volunteer of the Year Award from the Kentucky Retired Teachers Association in 2016.
Reflecting back over his career, Clark said his favorite and most rewarding role was that of teacher. “I loved being with the kids,” he said.
DCPS Superintendent Matt Robbins said Clark’s retirement is an enormous loss to the Board of Education. “He is such a strong advocate of public education,” Robbins said. “On a personal level, I have complete admiration for Mr. Clark. He is a man who has devoted his life to public service.”
Dr. Tom Payne, who was named Board chairman upon Clark’s retirement, said, “I’ve known Mike for many years, having worked with him as vice principal at Burns Middle School and as a fellow Board member for four years. Mike has always been enthusiastic about education and the welfare of kids. He’s dedicated most of his adult life working in some capacity in education, even in Africa, working with extremely poor children as a young man. He may be leaving the Board, but I’m sure Mike will remain active in some capacity that benefits children.”
Dale Stewart also reflected on many years of friendship as he said, “Mike and I started at Apollo together in the school year of 1973-74, which was the first graduation class for the Eagle Family. He has always put service first, both in his personal and professional life. I am proud to call him my friend and he has been an inspiration to many. I extend my best wishes to Mike and Rose as they start their next journey together.”
As part of his official resignation, Clark shared a statement that read in part, “In total, I have served the Daviess County Public Schools for over 35 years in the role of teacher, assistant principal, principal, and school board member. It has been an honor and privilege to serve on the School Board for the last eight years. The Daviess County Public Schools continues to be one of the best school districts in Kentucky and this certainly has been an extraordinary and joyful experience for me personally and professionally.
“Thank you for allowing me to be a part of a district that has always done ‘what is best for kids’! I have been, and shall remain, a staunch advocate for public schools.”