During his public interview with the Sequim School District on June 17, Dr. Rob Clark spoke directly about what he saw himself being able to do for the district, and noted he had done his research about what he would be walking into.
Selected the district’s new Interim Superintendent, Clark said he’s hoping to steer the district well into the next year.
The Gazette reached out to Clark to talk about his background and his goals for the district:
“The two big things we need to get done early,” Clark said, “are to get ready for the (Educational Programs & Operations) levy coming up and make sure that passes.
“There’s also several personnel issues I’m aware of that need to be addressed soon,” he added.
Clark is expected to start full-time on July 8 after tying up some loose ends at the Milton-Freewater (Oregon) School District, where he has served as superintendent since 2013.
He said he would be in Sequim for a few days before then on what he called a “time share” between the districts.
On a more general scale, Clark said he wants to spend some time building relationships with district staff and various community stakeholders who are involved in the education process.
“Those relationships help us get things done,” Clark said, “and they bring a lot of people to the table productively when there’s something to accomplish.”
Clark also mentioned his intention to spend quite a bit of time in the schools. In recent Sequim School Board meeting public comment sessions, a number of district teachers noted that district leaders are rarely seen in the schools.
When asked of his motivation to join the Sequim School District as an interim after six productive years as the superintendent Milton-Freewater School District, Clark’s answer was direct. “I’m very familiar with the region from my time as the Quilcene School District Superintendent (1995-97). My wife and I like the area a lot, and we have a condo in Port Ludlow because of it.”
He added, “Two of our three children also live in the greater Seattle area, so being closer to our family would be a huge benefit to us.
“But more than that,” Clark said, “I think I have the skills to really help this district. There’s things that need doing that my history shows I can do, and I want to do that for this community.”
School board president Brian Kuh echoed that sentiment when asked about Clark’s hiring.
“Improving district-wide communication will be a key focus for Dr. Clark in the coming months,” Kuh said, “and he’s indicated his desire to reach out to all of our buildings and staff soon after coming onboard. He’ll also get to know the Sequim community with targeted outreach to local stakeholders, leaders, and organizations.”
Kuh also mentioned Clark’s history with addressing and correcting diversity gaps in previous superintend positions, and spoke of that being an important component for bringing him on board given the district’s “strong partnership with the Jamestown Tribe and our vibrant minority communities.”
When asked if he was considering applying to be the permanent superintendent when that process begins later this year, Clark laughed.
“I’ll have to ask my wife,” he said. “She’s been incredible following me all over the state for more than three decades. I’m going to have to get her permission for that one.”