By Ben Lawson
Going into his 9th year as Seymour High School principal, Greg Clark is able to look back and say he is right where he wants to be, even if getting there meant taking chances he could only hope were the right ones.
Clark knew that education was the field he wanted to be in while studying at the University of Tennessee, but ultimately got into the business world after relenting to a common critique about teaching: you can’t make money at it. It didn’t take long for him to change his mind.
“I didn’t want to wake up at 40 and wish I’d done this,” he said.
Getting back to what he loved, Clark became a math teacher and went to work at the high school. That was 1985 and there were 450 students. At that time, he had no idea he’d one day be in charge of 1,300 students and 100 support group personnel.
The road to administration started with John Wade, then principal at Seymour Middle School. Although not initially interested in administration, Clark took an opportunity to work as assistant principal to Wade, who he respected and worked well with. From there he spent four years as principal of the intermediate school before moving to the high school. He has found it to be a career at once rewarding and demanding.
“Being a principal is challenging because you deal with so many different things,” he said.
Clark, who’s back to work long before students return for a new year, indicated that most people in administration live in a day-to-day work environment because they never know what they’ll be dealing with each day. As a result, Clark spends summers laying out his master schedule for the year, handling maintenance on the building and hiring new faculty and staff.
He said no major new changes were in the works for this year, other than the ever evolving nature of education in general. The student growth has leveled out in the previous few years, so the school won’t require additional space since the new wing was added a few years ago. The planned junior high school will one day take the freshman class off his hands, too.
When he’s not on the job, Clark spends time with his family, often on Douglas Lake. He has a daughter who is married and has her own career, another daughter is a senior at UT and his son just finished high school. Although education was what he always wanted to do, Clark stopped short of passing that off to everyone.
“In terms of a career, you need to find your passion,” he said.
Education the Right Fit for Clark
By Ben Lawson