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School History

School History

Mrs. Jessie McFarland Clark

The well-known educator once remarked that the Jessie Clark (Junior) HIgh School was named for a former board member and "not some Civil War general."  With a noted sense of humor, "Miss Jessie" was considerably amused shortly after the naming of the Clays Mill Road School in her honor when someone predicted that a future sports page headline might read "Jessie Clark Wins Over... Mary, Queen of Holy Rosary."

At the start of the 1964 school year, Mrs. Clark spoke at an assembly program at the school and told of her continuing intrest in the schools of Fayette County.  A student reporter, commenting on Mrs. Clark's talk, wrote that "she spoke to us so that all students might know she was living and that she had been a member of the Fayette County Board of Education and not some Civil War general who had died long ago."

Mrs. Clark was elected to the board in 1948 when "Miss Jessie," Jay C. Wallace and Tom Cattlett ran on a platform to correct what they called "a serious personnel problem in the county school system." In the 12 years that followed, Mrs. Clark headed the boards that supervised construction of Yates, Clays Mill, Glendover, Mary Todd, Leestown, and James Lane Allen Elementary Schools, and Bryan Station Senior High School, converted buildings at Lafayette Junior High School and built additions to Kenwick, Picadome, Linlee, and Russell Cave Schools.

Known for her "quotable quotes" and occasional "violent reactions" to problems in the system, Mrs. Clark announced in 1960 that she wouldn't seek re-election. "I feel that someone younger, someone with small children in school should run for the board," she said, adding, "It's time for someone else to fight awhile and say 'No.'" Mrs. Clark served two terms as president of the Kenwick Parent Teachers Association and was a vice president of the Fayette County PTA Council. An active member of the First Christian Church, she taught Sunday School for 45 years.

A native of Lexington, she was a daughter of Otho McFarland and Mattie Marshall McFarland.  She was a graduate of the old Lexingotn High School and attended the University of Kentucky.  Her community activities included membership in the Kenwick Homemakers Club and Women's Auxiliary No.9 of the Blue Grass Typographical Union 189.  Mrs. Clark as the wife of William Clark Jr., and had one daughter, Mrs. Lee B. Beckham.

Mrs. Jessie M. Clark
Jessie Clark school building