The Scoop: Clement Arnold served as PHS principal for 18 years

In the fall of 1956, Clement Y. Arnold joined Philomath High School’s staff as a science teacher. Twenty-eight years old at the time, Arnold found the school to his liking and remained on campus for most of his working life — 18 years as the high school principal.

Arnold died Jan. 4, 2020, at Evergreen Hospice House in Albany. He was 92.

Arnold, the son of Clement and Eleanor Arnold, lived in the Illinois Valley and graduated from Kerby High School. His father, Clement Arnold Sr., was a Navy veteran and served as postmaster at Cave Junction for more than 20 years.

In 1956, Arnold was one of seven teachers hired at Philomath Junior-Senior High School. He became the head of the science department and held various positions in education, including president of the Benton County Education Association. Arnold later added senior advisor to his responsibilities and in 1961, was elevated to first vice principal under Principal Ralph Gardner.

In 1964, Gardner resigned as principal and the Philomath School Board appointed Arnold to the position. It was soon decided that he would become the permanent principal beginning with the 1964 school year.

Eighteen years later in 1982, Arnold moved from PHS principal and into responsibilities that included curriculum director and special education coordinator.

McHenry Funeral Home in Corvallis handled arrangements. A few people remembered Arnold on the funeral home’s “tribute wall.” A former student was among those who shared memories, which go back to when he was a middle-schooler.

“I remember thinking how cool it was that our high school principal was a motorcycle dude and it was him that got me hooked on motorcycles,” he wrote. “He always went out of his way to talk to me and that made me feel very important. As I became an adult, I enjoyed talking with him and always thought of him as my friend.”

An educator who worked under Arnold in Philomath also shared a few comments.

“Mr. Arnold was my mentor and over the years in my career, I often ask myself, ‘What would Clem do in this situation?’”

As of Monday, no information on possible services had been announced by the funeral home.

(Brad Fuqua is publisher/editor of the Philomath News. He can be reached at [email protected]).

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