Sentiments Shared at the Start of a New School Year

CLARK, NJ  - Maybe it was the winding down of the pages in the August calendar or the draw of soon to be school bells, but no matter the reason, the sentiment  and words shared toward the end of the last Board of Education meeting on Tuesday night were powerful and thought-provoking.   What started as a regular BOE meeting, ended on notes of gratitude and reflection.

After the usual BOE motions, votes and introduction of the newest staff hired to begin their school year with the children of Clark, Superintendent Ken Knops wrapped up his report to the board.  At the end of his report Knops said, “I’d like to conclude my report by wishing all of our students a successful and joyful and fulfilling school year ahead.”  He continued with, “As we open the door on a new school year I quote the words of our 35th President of the United States John Kennedy as he said back in 1962, ‘Our progress as a nation can be no swifter than our progress in education. The human mind is our fundamental resource.’   Knops let this quote speak for itself and simply closed for the evening by saying “Certainly that hasn’t changed at all since 1962.”

Shortly following Knops’ statement, as the meeting was close to ending; Board of Education Member Tom Lewis shared a powerful statement related to the foundation of the Clark school district and the commitment of Clark teachers.   In his closing comments for the evening Lewis said, “I just feel compelled to make a couple of comments.  First of all, as we embark on a new school year I want to congratulate our new hirees and make a point that through the past few years we have had some great hirees and we’ve certainly heard about it. 

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But I think it is imperative for the staff and particularly the Superintendent and Assistant Superintendent and Administration to understand that the success of this district has been predicated on the veteran teachers.  Teachers who have worked 5, 10, 20 years and have been successful.   The character and backbone of this district is on our veteran staff.  They touched our own children going through the process and it would be remiss if I didn’t thank and understand the body of what moves this district and this town is the veteran-ness of our teachers who help the young teachers to become master teachers. 

So to me, I would like to start the school year off making sure we as a Board and Administration thank our veteran teachers who have.”  Lewis paused for a moment and then continued, “and there are some great teachers in our district, who have touched our own children and made them better students in college and going on to the success of life that need be applauded and thanked for the work that they do.”  Lewis quietly closed his statement by thanking the Board President.

Two men with strong roots and interests in the art, delivery and quality of education left an impression upon the attendees of the meeting the other night.  Reflections are certain to continue and appreciation is sure to be shown after the words shared at the dawn of a new school year.

To see a recap of more typical BOE business covered at this meeting, click here.  http://


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