Clark takes seat on Owen board

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By Molly Haines

A seat on the Owen County School Board that has been vacant since early June was filled during a special meeting of the board Thursday.

Brian N. Clark, 44, was administered the Owen County Board of Education member oath of office, as well as the Kentucky Constitutional oath, by Owen County Judge-Executive Carolyn Keith.

Clark, a 1984 graduate of Dixie High School in Edgewood and a 1989 graduate of Eastern Kentucky University, said he decided to pursue the vacant seat after realizing the struggles his daughter, Samantha, faced after leaving Owen County for college.

“We didn’t know what we didn’t know,” Clark said. “I realized right then that unless we did something, we would be dealing with similar issues once Emily graduated and headed off to college.”

Emily, a junior at Owen County High School, is the younger daughter of Clark and his wife, Patti.

Clark is a 17-year employee of Toyota Motor Manufacturing in Georgetown. He is Owen County’s representative on the Northern Kentucky Regional Citizen Corps Council and an elder at Lakeside Presbyterian Church in Lakeside Park.

Clark is filling the seat left vacant by former board member Margaret Forsee, who resigned June 1 due to personal reasons.

Within 90 days after a Kentucky school board vacancy occurs, it must be filled by the chief state school officer. The board of education may make nominations and any person can nominate themselves or another for the office.

With Forsee’s resignation, Clark realized the timing was right for him to have an impact on the future of Owen County education.

“If Owen County students are going to compete with other students across the state for scholarships and spots in top-ranking programs at colleges in Kentucky, they must be able to perform at or above the level of students from districts where academics are stressed and given top priorities,” Clark said. “My experience with my own daughter and conversations with her friends who have gone to college thinking they were ready and realizing how far behind they really are made me realize that unless we put the focus on academics for all students, our children will never compete in the 21st century with any level of success.”

Clark said he hopes the board can find a superintendent who will move the school district forward.

“Mainly I’d like to see the district get a superintendent who will continue moving this county forward,” Clark said. “The high school has moved up and I’d like to see someone bring the rest of the schools up and take the high school even higher.”

Clark has filed papers to run for the school board position in the November election and said his priority is the students and their education.

“Any decision I make will ultimately come back to that,” Clark said. “How will this decision help the kids and helping the kids is my sole goal.”

The deadline for candidates to file for the November election was Tuesday. The candidate who wins the district four school board seat in November will finish Forsee’s term, which expires December 2012.