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Published: Wednesday, 10/4/2006

New school leader adopts 'listen' mode

BY ERIKA RAY
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Greg Clark Greg Clark
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Greg Clark said he wants to continue the momentum started by his predecessors in the Northwood Local School District.

The new superintendent said he applied to work at Northwood after observing that the administration was committed to ensuring that students are learning by identifying priorities to consciously strive toward, including identifying "at- risk" students, participating in student intervention, and improving the graduation rate.

"Their commitment to kids excited me, so when this job opened, I knew Northwood was somewhere I wanted to be," he said.

It's his first job as a school superintendent.

He was hired in late spring to take over for interim superintendent Gary Jones, who had filled the job for a year while the Northwood Local school board searched for a permanent replacement for Ron Matter, who went to Penta Career Center in Perrysburg Township.

"I've got big shoes to fill. Everyone has decided to make this an excellent school," Mr. Clark said of the district's excellent rating on the local report card given out by the Ohio Department of Education.

Because of this, he said his immediate plans are to do a lot of listening to find out what the community wants. "We're going to do what we need to do to get there," he said.

He will be paid $88,000 a year to lead the 1,000-student district.

Mr. Clark, 41, of Northwood grew up in Pemberville and attended Eastwood Local Schools.

He received his bachelor's degree from Bowling Green State University in 1991 and earned his master's degree from there three years later.

In 1991, he began teaching social studies at the main building in the North Baltimore Local School District. After five years, he taught at Eastwood Middle School before returning to North Baltimore in 1998 as assistant principal and reading teacher. Two years later, he became the principal of North Baltimore's main building.

During his time spent there, he said he worked closely with its superintendent at the time, Richard Van Mooy, who encouraged him to become an administrator.

Mr. Van Mooy, who is now an administrator at the Hancock County Educational Service Center, said he thought Mr. Clark would become a successful administrator because he understands and believes in the value of public education.

"I think the most important attribute a school administrator needs is the ability to see the big picture, and Greg can see the big picture," said Mr. Van Mooy, who has been a public educator for 38 years. "The most successful are the ones who understand the impact in the decision they make in the global sense. A good superintendent is able to see how that all fits together in the jigsaw puzzle that is a school district."

Before Mr. Clark was hired in Northwood, he was the director of personnel, student, and administrative services for Fremont City Schools.

He is married to Jen Wronkovich-Clark, and the couple are expecting their first child in March. Mr. Clark has a daughter from a previous marriage - Maddie, a senior at North Baltimore who will be 18 on Saturday.

Along with Mr. Clark, another administrator new to the district was hired this summer to take over as principal of Lark Elementary School.

Dawn Wallin has taken over for Sue Davis, who retired after 10 years as Lark principal.

Before coming to Northwood, she was with Toledo Public Schools for 14 years, half of them as an administrator. Most recently, she was the district's data manager. She said she was eager to return to making decisions for the day-to-day operations of a school building again.

"I feel it's been a very good fit for me," she said.

Mrs. Wallin, 37, of Monclova Township has bachelor's and master's degree from the University of Toledo and received her superintendent's license from the University of Findlay.

At Lark, she will be paid $66,457 annually.



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