Mark A. Clark of Fayetteville has announced his candidacy for re-election to the Fayetteville City Board of Education in the Nov. 6 election.
Clark has been a member of the city school board since 2002, serving as vice chairman from 2004 to 2008 and chairman from 2008 to 2015. Prior to his election to the school board, Clark served as mayor of the City of Fayetteville from 1998 until 2002 and alderman from 1994 until 1998, acting as vice mayor from 1994 to 1996. Additionally, he was a member of the Fayetteville-Lincoln County Industrial Development Board from 1989 to 1994, serving as chairman from 1993 to 1994.
Clark is currently vice president and member of the board of directors for the Tennessee School Boards Association (TSBA).
“I’m excited to announce my candidacy for re-election to the Fayetteville Board of Education,” Clark said. “Serving on the city school board is a great opportunity for me to continue to work to keep the system one of the very best in the state and to continue to help prepare our young people for success in life.
“2018 has been another exciting year for the Fayetteville City School System,” he added, “and I’m pleased our system will end the calendar year stronger than ever.”
In announcing his candidacy, Clark noted five areas of focus and success.
First, “focus on the children. Period,” he said. “I’m pleased to be a member of a board that is committed to putting children first. Extensive use of test data enables us to focus instruction on individual student needs, and End of Course, ACT and other test scores confirm we are successfully preparing students for college and career.”
Second, school safety: a two-pronged approach. “Thankfully, our community has largely been free of the tragic violence that has devastated schools across the country in recent years. However, we cannot assume this will always be the case, so we have initiated a two-pronged approach to school safety.
“In partnership with the City of Fayetteville, we have hired two school resource officers to provide on-site protection at each of our campuses. Perhaps even more important, we also have hired an additional guidance counselor to work with our students, because we believe we must address potential causes of violence, including stress and other emotional needs of children, before problems reach crisis level.”
Third, Clark said, is early childhood education: a top priority.
“Our board has aggressively and successfully pursued state funds and appropriated significant local funds to ensure pre-k opportunities, which provide a strong foundation for learning.”
Fourth, a small school setting is conducive to success, he noted.
“A total student population of about 1,550 students from pre-k through 12 (averaging just over 100 per grade) means our system enrollment is optimum for our staff and facilities,” Clark said. “We want to retain this precious ‘small school’ environment, where every student is valued, accounted for and accountable. We are humbled by the number of families who enroll their children and express their strong endorsement of our system, staff and academic and extracurricular opportunities.”
Finally, Clark noted strong system finances – “Wise allocation of federal, state and local funds means we operate with a balanced budget, continue to build our reserve funds and are able to provide outstanding facilities, technology and supplies for our staff and students.
“I believe school board members must work to inspire our children to want to learn, provide them with opportunities, be proper examples for them to follow and always be open to the thoughts and opinions of others,” he continued in his announcement. “I invite anyone to contact me by telephone or email at any time to discuss how we can work together to make Fayetteville City School System even better.”
Clark attended Fayetteville City Schools and was a member of the last graduating class of Fayetteville Central High School in 1979. He earned a bachelor of science in electrical engineering from Tennessee Tech University in Cookeville in 1983 and a master of science in electrical engineering from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, in 1986. From 1987 to 1988, he completed post graduate studies in electrical engineering and mathematics at Auburn University.
The Fayetteville native is the son of the late Harwell and Marjorie Clark. He is married to the former Laura Young, daughter of Suzanne Young of Fayetteville and the late Dr. Bill Young. He has four children: Megan, age 32; Travis, 30; Will, 19; and Sara, 15.
Clark is an active member of the Washington Street Church of Christ where he is a deacon, leads congregational singing and teaches Bible classes. He is employed as director, Missile and Space Intelligence Center, Defense Intelligence Agency.