Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Stuff of Clough: Tell Truth, Walk in Others' Shoes Superintendent's Career Heads into Its Final Year

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Stuff of Clough: Tell Truth, Walk in Others' Shoes Superintendent's Career Heads into Its Final Year

Article excerpt

There's a lesson in the career of Roger Clough, superintendent of the Pattonville School District: Tell the truth, and try to walk in the other guy's shoes.

Clough, who will retire next summer from his post in northwest St. Louis County, reflected recently on 40 years as a school administrator, the last 12 as Pattonville's superintendent.

"We all worked together here to try to improve learning," said Clough, 61. "And seeing learners of all ages be successful is why I stayed in this business."

Ron Kuschel, president of the Pattonville School Board, said Clough has the highest personal integrity of any person Kuschel has met. "You know where you stand with him. He's honest, he's compassionate and he's fair."

Clough grew up in Uehling, Neb., a town of 250 people. His father owned a filling station and cafe and had an eighth-grade education. His mother was a Sunday school superintendent.

"My dad taught me to respect everyone regardless of one's status," Clough said. "My mother always had something good to say about people."

Clough's first job as superintendent came in 1959 in Yutan, Neb. The district had 350 students. In addition to superintendent duties, Clough had to teach a full load, deal with finances, oversee hot lunches, order activity books, set up chairs, scoop snow and even drive a school bus when a driver couldn't make it.

"It was a great experience," Clough said. "I never ask someone to do something I didn't do hands on."

Clough worked as a superintendent in other districts in Nebraska and Iowa, including the Lincoln public schools, which had 25,000 students.

Then he came to Pattonville, which has 6,700 students, because he wanted a small district with a single high school.

Clough counts as highlights:

* Joining five other districts in a comprehensive responsibility education program nearly a decade ago.

* Helping create the Pattonville Care Foundation, which raises about $10,000 a year from employees to help support students and employees in crisis.

* Working with the voluntary desegregation program, which brings more than 1,100 students to Pattonville from St. Louis.

* Improving opportunities for learning, ranging from new technology to allowing teachers to try new things. …

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