West Ada District Superintendent Linda Clark Doesn't Have An Exit Strategy

Aug 13, 2015

Linda Clark, right, confers with trustees Carol Sayles and Russell Joki during a break in a school board meeting Tuesday.
Credit Idaho Education News

Linda Clark has spent 37 years working in Meridian-area schools. She has seen the suburban school district mushroom from 9,700 students to an enrollment of nearly 37,000 — with all the pressures and construction demands that come with growth.

But for Clark, the past few weeks have been particularly tumultuous.

On July 31, Gov. Butch Otter appointed the West Ada School District superintendent to a vacant seat on the State Board of Education. The news surprised many observers — even fellow educators who support Otter’s decision. Critics, also blindsided by the news, question how Clark can juggle the two jobs, and suggest the State Board post constitutes a conflict of interest.

Meanwhile, Clark is facing increased scrutiny from district trustees — and not just because of her State Board appointment. This week, the board voted down a staff hire recommended by Clark. Another sensitive, lingering issue is a decision to extend Clark’s contract through 2018, a decision made by a divided and lame-duck board.

Clark says she’s been taken aback by the criticism, but says she isn’t going anywhere. At 66, retirement is not on her mind. “I don’t have an exit strategy,” Clark said in an interview this week.

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