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Clark, M. G.

M. G. ClarkOne of the most respected and popular educators in Sioux City throughout the years has been M. G. Clark. Doctor Clark served as superintendent of Sioux City Schools for twenty years.

Mel Clark was born in Belleville, NY, in March of 1868. He graduated from the University of Chicago in 1898. He served as superintendent of schools in several towns in Illinois before accepting the job in Sioux City. When he took over the schools, the district was in very bad shape. The buildings were old and rundown. Over the years he was able to build new schools and improve the ones the district already had.


His most important contribution to education was in the field of instruction. Doctor Clark had very specific ideas in regard to textbooks. When he could not find textbooks available that he felt met his standards, he wrote his own. He wrote MOTIVATED LANGUAGE and HABITUATED ARITHMETIC in 1919. APPLIED ENGLISH was published in 1924 and LANGUAGE IN USE, books I, II, III, in 1926. He also wrote a book based on his idea of a "spiritualized citizenship", that children should learn from the study of our history. He called this book PROGRESS AND PATRIOTISM. Many districts throughout the country used the books he wrote.

Clark was also very active in the community and educational organizations as well. He served as the first President of the Iowa State Education Association and served on both state and national committees. He served as a leader of the Men's Bible Class at First Presbyterian Church, was a leader in the Rotary Club and was president of the Sons of the American Revolution.

When Doctor Clark had a heart attack and died while still working as superintendent, the whole school district was closed down in mourning. Praise for this great educator arrived from all over the United States. The faculty of Sioux City Schools wrote the following:

"Two decades ago, the school system of Sioux City had disintegrated to such a degree that the term 'system', as applied to it was a misnomer. A crisis in the educational development of the city had come, and someone to meet the challenge was called, a man forceful, dynamic, of tireless energy, of indefatigable industry. Gifted with unusual constructive ability and extraordinary foresight, he soon succeeded in reducing to order the educational chaos which existed when he came. This man had in him something of the spirit of the adventurer, yet he Comprehend his trust and to the same Kept faithful with a singleness of aim."

An elementary school on the north side of Sioux City is named in his honor.

 
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