Douglas Superintendent Clark will leave for San Mateo

MINDEN - Pendery Clark's announcement Tuesday she will leave her position as superintendent of the Douglas County School District was met with a mixed reaction.

"Pendery was an excellent superintendent and I don't have a bad word to say about her," said Rick Kester, financial director for the district. "She is very intelligent and very task-oriented."

However, Bill Laughlin, who ran for school board last year, was glad she accepted a superintendent's position in California.

"Hallelujah. I'm happy to see her go," he said. "I think she's made a mess of the district. The only unfortunate thing is that she won't be here to see it all unravel."

Clark announced that she would be leaving to accept an offer to become superintendent of the San Mateo-Foster City School District and said she looks forward to being closer to family members, who live in the Bay area.

"That was the major factor in the decision," she said. "When I started with (Douglas County School) district in 1992, I only had one grandchild. Now I have eight. I really look forward to being more a part of their lives. Of course, my husband lives in the Bay area so we've been making that trek, him coming here, me going there, for the last nine years. At this point in my life and my professional career, it's important to me to be close to my family so the San Mateo opportunity is really exciting for me."

Clark came to Douglas County in November 1992 from Kansas City, Mo. where she was an assistant superintendent.

In 1997, she was named the Nevada State Superintendent of the Year for various achievements including the development of a strategic plan focusing on students' competency skills.

Clark earned her degrees from the University of California, Berkeley, Pepperdine University and Nova Southeastern University.

Kester, who has served all nine years with Clark, said she did a good job of organizing district goals and the strategic plan.

"In the 23 years I've been doing this, I've seen no one more dedicated to the job," he said. "In my opinion, she is a top-notch superintendent."

However, he recognized that others did not hold his same opinion.

"When you work that hard and are that dedicated, you can't help but rub some people wrong," he said.

Laughlin was one of those people. He said Clark was "unfit" for the position.

"She was out of touch with a lot of the staff and what was going on at the schools," he said. "If something wasn't right, she just buried it - swept it under the rug."

In a press release from the Douglas County School District, Clark said she decided to accept the offer to be closer to her family in the San Mateo area.

Clark will begin her duties as the superintendent of the district with 10,500 students on Nov. 1.

Douglas County School Board members will meet Sept. 11 at Kingsbury Middle School to discuss a plan to replace her.

- Appeal News Service writer Jill Darby contributed to this story.


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