"The mission of the Lackawanna Trail school board is to provide the very best education for these children," said Board President Ned Clarke.
Clarke likes to think he brings a different view to the job, as he is unmarried with no children. "Having children or not has no relevance, and I'd like to actually think I'm bringing a different perspective to the table," he said.
Either way, Clarke feels a need to give back to the community. For him, it started as a member of the school board. Then, he served one year as acting vice president. As it would happen, a board member that died left a vacancy. Another board member asked Clarke if he'd like to serve a term as president.
"They felt I would be impartial. I was honored. I didn't have a lot of time to think about it, which is good. I put in my letter of intent and the rest is history," Clarke said. He has been serving as president since December 2011.
The Dalton resident stressed that the board adheres to strict state and federal guidelines. Clarke insisted that Lackawanna Trail has a very diverse board. There are current and past educators, people in business and a wide range of other members. "They're good people. It's just a real good fit," said Clarke.
That "good fit" means operating through lengthy discussions, adherence to policies and differences of opinion being left in the board room. They also work on a consensus and majority rule vote. These are a few of the reasons why Clarke decided to be president. He views it as putting himself "in the rotation." Another major focus of the board is achieving and continuing financial stability and trying to raise money to keep the school district solvent.
"We are in the black right now. It's an ongoing battle. We're probably breaking even. It's a battle year to year to maintain fund balance," Clarke said. He also pointed out that the school district has received less in grants from the state and that it has a direct impact on how the board operates. The current economy also comes into play.
Clarke added that it is an honor to serve on the board that he feels is trying to bring the school on the cutting edge of education.
"Our goal is for the betterment of each and every student and, of course, their well-being."
Meet the President
Interests And Hobbies: Coaching track & field and cross country, hunting, running, hiking, mountain biking, reading a good book
Inspired by: My father
Favorite Place In The World: Clew Bay in Galway, Ireland
Favorite Book: "One on One " by Coach John Wooden
Greatest Achievement: Having completed 24 marathons.
Perfect Sunday Afternoon: After a long run in the morning with my group from Keystone, I love to work around my house tinkering and gardening with no special job task.
Can't Leave Home Without: Unfortunately, my cell phone!