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District seeks to appoint replacement for Clark


Jason Browne



The Lowndes County School District could begin the search to replace the late John Clark on its board of trustees Thursday. 


Clark, 60, passed away at his home near Steens on Friday afternoon due to unknown causes. Lowndes County Coroner Greg Merchant said Monday the investigation into Clark''s death is still under way. 


Lowndes County Superintendent of Education Mike Halford said a special called board meeting was already scheduled for Thursday to discuss personnel issues, and the search for Clark''s temporary replacement may be discussed at that meeting. 


The process, according to Halford, will likely begin with two current board members forming a search committee to identify potential candidates for filling Clark''s seat until a special election can be arranged. Clark was elected to a six-year term in 2004 and began in 2005. The coming school year would have been Clark''s sixth.  


Clark had expressed interest in running for another term, and Halford hadn''t heard of any potential opposition for the seat. 


The winner of a special election would then have the opportunity to run for a six-year term in November 2011, when Clark''s District 2 seat and Jane Kilgore''s District 1 seat are up for re-election. 


The school district map is divided differently than that of the Lowndes supervisor districts. Districts 1 and 2 were nearest Caledonia schools, which Halford says was a big focus of Clark''s during his time in office. 


"He was especially interested in growth at Caledonia. He had grandchildren at Caledonia," said Halford. 


Clark, who was originally elected to the board of trustees in 1992 before resigning and running years later in 2004, was also a major proponent of a new central office, which he hoped would include an alternative school and a vocational center. 


"He realized with the economy, he knew we could not do that. That''s why we decided to take $1 million and do some work out here (at the current central office location)," said Halford. 


Halford remembered Clark as a member of the committee which interviewed him for the superintendent''s position in 1992 and grew to become a "very good friend." 


"He questioned some of the things I did (as superintendent), but I always had his support," said Halford. 


The two had planned to meet for lunch Saturday. 


"He said he wanted to talk but we didn''t get to go eat. I would have loved that chance to talk," said Halford. 


Clark''s death will not affect hearings today for former New Hope principal Lynn Wright and varsity baseball coach Stacy Hester. Both men are appealing the loss of their jobs to the LCSD board.




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