NORTH BRUNSWICK – Joseph F. “Pete” Clark may be best known for his role as principal at Linwood Middle School (LMS) from 2004-10, and then principal at North Brunswick Township High School (NBTHS) from 2010-16.
However, his service to the community is quite extensive, both as a municipal representative throughout New Jersey and as a far-reaching volunteer.
Clark’s professional background includes supervisor of Social Studies at Cranford High School, assistant principal and supervisor of Social Studies at NBTHS, and a teacher of Social Studies at Cranford High and St. Peter’s High School in New Brunswick.
He was previously a consultant for the New Jersey Principals and Supervisors Association and still offers his time there; and he continues to offer guidance as a clinical instructor at the Rutgers Graduate School of Education, observing student teachers.
“During my years as a parent/educator, I always felt it was important to be a role model for my children, Peter, Patty and Katie, and the students I taught, especially living in the community you worked in,” Clark said.
Clark has coaching experience in basketball, baseball and football at the high school level in Cranford, New Brunswick and North Brunswick. He currently coordinates North Brunswick’s Buddy Ball program, which pairs teenagers with athletes with disabilities for soccer and basketball games.
That follows his own athletic career, where he achieved 10 varsity letters; was named all county in basketball, football and baseball; and was Middlesex County’s Scholar Athlete.
Clark graduated from St. Peter’s High School in 1972. He received his Bachelor of Arts from Rutgers College in 1976, and his education degree from Kean College in 1992 and 1996.
Clark was inducted into the St. Peter’s High School Hall of Fame.
He also served for three years as a North Brunswick councilman.
In 2011, he received the Ann Marie Chandlee/Mary Slye Heritage Day award from North Brunswick.
Clark is a member of the Board of Trustees for the United Way of Central Jersey, of the North Brunswick Municipal Alliance, of the Rutgers Football Letter Winners Association, of the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) of North Brunswick, the Board of Trustees for the New Jersey Center for Law, and the North Brunswick Historical Society.
He is also part of North Brunswick’s chapter of the Wreaths Across America Committee, which has allowed him to organize POW/MIA, Pearl Harbor and Sept. 11 commemorative programs with the American Legion.
He has also been chosen by the Middlesex County Board of Commissioners to serve on Middlesex County‘s Human Services Advisory Committee.
He additionally volunteers with Meals on Wheels and Ronald McDonald House.
“It was important to give back to the community as a volunteer and a sense of pride living in North Brunswick. In retirement, this was my second phase in life, to be productive and to devote more time and energy in different aspects of the community.
“During my years in education, my time was limited to devote to be a volunteer, but now my schedule is more flexible and allows me, with the support of my wife, Terry, to continue to give back in so many ways,” he said.
All of his accomplishments and altruistic actions have led Clark to his most recent honor: Middlesex County’s Volunteer of the Year for the Governor’s Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse (GCADA).
A 15-year member of North Brunswick’s Municipal Alliance Committee, director Lou Ann Benson commented, “Pete always puts the needs of others first and is willing to go above and beyond.” She called him “an idea person” and said he is very dedicated and committed.
The award was presented on Dec. 14 during a virtual meeting held by GCADA.
“Receiving the GCADA award, it is a group recognition, not an individual, to volunteer with others with the same interests. The North Brunswick Municipal Alliance, under Mayor Francis ‘Mac’ Womack and Coordinator Lou Ann Benson, has allowed our committee to take on challenges or attend community events that will benefit our residents and our students in the schools.
“The alliance allows me to work with wonderful community people of all types and keeps me connected to our schools. When I was principal at both LMS and NBTHS, the Municipal Alliance was always providing programs to educate our students and parents on the dangers of drugs and alcohol and other social issues where the schools were limited in funding initiatives. The alliance allowed us to address the issues in a proactive manner.
“This is main reason for me to serve on the alliance: to continue the connection with the school and the community to continue to maintain that North Brunswick is a wonderful community to raise your children,” Clark said.
Clark said because of the coronavirus pandemic, he has been able to take webinars and classes and attend meetings remotely to stay active in the community.
“When you volunteer, you do it to help others or to help your community behind the scenes.
“My advice for others is to take some time out of your schedule to volunteer within the community with something you have a passion for, or organize your own group to meet your volunteer interests. It is a wonderful feeling knowing you can make a difference volunteering with others to follow the motto, ‘We Are North Brunswick.’ “
Contact Jennifer Amato at email@example.com.