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RETIRED TEACHERS SPOTLIGHT: Teacher, coach stays busy in ‘retirement’ as full-time sub

Dean Clark has enjoyed being a full-time sub with Dalton Local Schools since he retired in 2020. He and his wife, Marla, are shown here with Connor, left, and Mitchell, right.

DGKN correspondent

DALTON  Even in retirement, Dean Clark is going strong in the school system from which he graduated more than 40 years ago.

Clark retired in 2020, but he turned around and signed on as a substitute teacher that fall.

“I miss(ed) the spontaneity of the students, working with a great staff, and working for a great administration,” he wrote in an email.

Clark is a full-time substitute with Dalton Local Schools for this school year. He also continues to coach junior high football, seventh-grade boys’ basketball, and high school baseball for the Bulldogs.

Although he’s retired, he is still busily working with the school and sports.

Clark grew up in Dalton and graduated from the high school in 1978. By 1982, he had graduated from Muskingum University with a four-year bachelor of science degree. His first position was at Morgan Local Schools teaching Algebra I and Business Math.

In 1985, he was hired by Dalton to teach various forms of middle school and high school math. During his 35 years, he taught seventh-grade math, eighth-grade math, Algebra I, Geometry, and Algebra II.

Duane Miller, Clark’s high school biology teacher and basketball coach, was the biggest influence in Clark’s aspirations to become a teacher, he said.

“I loved playing basketball (maybe a little bit more than the classroom) and the experiences I had with him as a teacher and coach were the best,” Clark said in an email.

When asked about memories from his time teaching, he commented, “there are so many memories, I have probably forgotten more than I can remember.”

However, one memory stands out.

A student asked to use the restroom during one of his classes. After Clark said yes, the student stood up —and promptly fell over onto his classmate. Thinking the student was just messing around, the class started laughing. Quickly, Clark realized the student had passed out and he rushed to him. When the student came to, he had no idea of what had just happened. Once they found out he was fine, everyone had a good chuckle.

When Clark actually retires, he and his wife, Marla, are looking forward to getting a place out in the country, traveling, and keeping up with their kids. Marla Clark, who is going on 33 years of working as a CMA at Ohio Head & Neck Surgeons, hopes to retire soon. Clark’s oldest son, Connor, has followed in his footsteps. He graduated from Otterbein University last spring where he played basketball for four years and then landed a job teaching math and coaching football and basketball at Marion Elgin S.D. Mitchell, Clark’s youngest son, is finishing up at Muskingum University where he also has been a four-year letterman in basketball. This spring, he will graduate with a double major in Business and Marketing and will be looking for a job.

Like the rest of us, Dean Clark has been affected by the pandemic. Instead of being in person with his students during his last spring of teaching full-time, everything was virtual. He also misses normal life —handshakes, faces with no masks, and not having to think about being six feet apart.

“The neat thing during these times is the resiliency of our students … they are amazing!” he said.

One thing Clark wished he would’ve learned earlier in life was patience.

“I think this comes with age,” he said, then added jokingly, “So at this point of my life I am very patient because I am very old!”

Clark counts it a blessing to be a part of Dalton.

“Never, ever forget just how special this community and its school system is,” he wrote. “We have something very unique within this small village and I can truly say I was blessed to be a part of it. Thank you to all who make this true every day. Be good!”

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