Paying it forward.
Giving back to his community by nurturing the minds of youth to prepare them as future leaders and defenders of freedom and liberty.
Serving his country in times of war and peace.
In a nutshell, all of the above roughly sums up the life of Clark Burke, a life steeped in teaching and military service, both of which he continues to fulfill in his dual career capacity as an active soldier in the United States Army Reserves, and as the deputy superintendent of Manteca Unified School District.
“I joined the Reserves I my mid 20’s for the same reasons I became a teacher. I wanted to give back to my community and my country,” said Burke, summing it all up in his own words.
“Both careers gave me an opportunity to give other people the same opportunities I was fortunate to have. I have been lucky to work in two noble professions each with dedicated and selfless public servants,” added Burke, who later went on to finish his Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership and Administration from California State University – Sacramento. And as an active member of the Reserves, he could be called upon any time again for deployment to any hot spot in the world in defense of freedom.
A veteran of the Iraq war, Burke was part of the American armed forces that took part in what was dubbed as Operation Iraqi Freedom, along with several coalition forces from the United Kingdom, Australia, and Poland, which saw the capture of Baghdad, the Iraqi capital, and the Ba’athist government of Saddam Hussein being deposed.
Burke was deployed from December 2003 until April 2005 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in his capacity as Movement Control Battle Captain. During the time of his deployment, he was assigned at the 513th MCT Det. in Victorville in California, and at Ft. Bliss in Texas. During his deployment, he was stationed in Balad, Baghdad, and Al Hilla in Iraq, and in Arifjan in Kuwait. His duties included oversight, planning, coordinating and implementing the movement of personnel, vehicles and supplies in a combat theater of operation. He also planned, coordinated and attended to the needs of soldiers under his command. His other duties included coordinating and attending to the political, legal, logistical and financial needs of the unit and the battalion under which he served, as well as assessing shortcomings to the unit and the mission, and developing and implementing solutions.
When he was activated for deployment, Burke was a Science teacher and Department Chair at Lee Junior High School in the Woodland Joint Unified School District. He took two years off from his job to answer the call of his country to serve.
When Uncle Sam called him up, “I dropped what I was doing in the middle of teaching my class and went overseas,” recalled Burke who landed in Iraq during the start of the insurgency in that country. While others in various branches of the United States military served from a number of months to multiple years, Burke was in Kuwait and Iraq the whole time for nearly two years.
He was at Lee Junior High from 1998 to 2005, which meant his job was guaranteed with someone else being hired to take over the classes he was teaching while he was away serving his country.
Back in the United States after his deployment to Iraq, as the company commander at Mare Island in Vallejo, and in command of the 481st HB TC Company, Burke oversaw the training, maintenance, mission accomplishment, operational readiness, budget, legal, medical, and overall welfare for 21 warrant officers and 120 soldiers. He was overall responsible for eight LCU (landing craft utility) heavy boats and other company equipment valued in excess of $100 million.
In his civilian life post Iraq, Burke assumed the post of Vice Principal at Deer Valley High School in the Antioch Unified School District. His duties included being the sole administrator of a smaller school of 1,000 students within a larger school of 3,500 students. He was also the sole administrator over the Special Education Department, the Science Department, and the School Facilities combined. He held this job for nearly two years when he left to become principal of C.W. Dillard Elementary School in the Elk Grove Unified School District. He was in this capacity for nearly five years. He left this job in September 2011 to become Director of Human Services at Eureka Union School District in Granite Bay, a post he held until 2013.
He came to Manteca in February 2013 when he became the deputy superintendent of Manteca Unified.
Burke’s education is a product of the University of California and the California State University school systems. He attended UC Santa Cruz, UC Davis, and Cal State Sacramento where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Psychology, a master’s degree in Education, and a doctorate in Educational Leadership.
Alongside his civilian educational accomplishments are his military education and training, and duties. He attended the Unites States Army Command and General Staff College, Combined Arms Exercise, U.S. Army Transportation School for basic and advanced courses for transportation officers; survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape (SERE) training, and courses in Unit Movement Officer Deployment Planning and Hazmat certification in the Army Transportation School.
In addition to being a company commander, Movement Control Battle Captain, executive officer, and platoon leader, he is assistant professor of Military Science at UC Davis and Cal State Sacramento.
Burke was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan. His family moved to California when he was young. He currently lives in Davis with his wife, Lisa, a high school counselor. They have two children who are now in their 20s.
As heavy as his work load is – “I used to have a lot more time” – Burke still manages to try and find time to indulge himself in his hobbies. He enjoys working with cars, and pursuing “any kind of outdoor activities” such as hiking, biking, camping, rock climbing, and scuba diving.