Faculty & Staff
Priscila Martins-Read, a 30-year beloved faculty member at Clark College, passed away March 10, 2020. Martins-Read worked primarily with refugees and exchange students as an English as a second language instructor. She was proud of her foreign-language students who went on to become published authors in English. In 2009, she was recognized for her excellence in teaching at Clark, the highest faculty honor.
Gaydena Thompson, Clark’s beloved former athletic director and faculty member, died on December 31, 2019 at the age of 84. Thompson’s career at Clark began in 1962, where she was a physical education instructor who taught swimming, fencing, dancing and fitness classes. In 1977, she made history when she was named athletic director at Clark College, the first female to take that post in Washington State’s community college system. She held the position until 1982, when she stepped into a department chair role so she could focus on teaching. In 1994, Gaydena received the Service Honor Award from the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance. She was the first Northwest community college staff member to win it. Thompson was a 1995 Woman of Achievement Honoree, 2002 Northwest Athletic Conference Hall of Fame recipient, a recipient of Clark’s Exceptional Faculty Award in 1996-1997, and a 2012 Hall of Fame inductee. Thompson was a leader in promoting fitness for students and community members through her classes, college activities and public service. Clark’s fitness center carries her name in her honor.
David Abts was employed in facilities services at Clark College before passing away unexpectedly on August 29, 2019, at the age of 56. David was born in Portland, Ore, and was raised and educated in Vancouver, Wash. He is remembered by his wife of 25 years, Tina Landroche, a history instructor at Clark. Photo by Tina Landroche.
Lora Whitfield ’02 was a tenured professor of Early Childhood Education and a passionate teacher. She passed away on July 9, 2019, at the age of 49. Whitfield earned an associate degree in Early Childhood Education at Clark, then went on to earn her master’s degree. She returned to Clark College to teach.
MaryAnn Thimmes, a Clark alumna, taught nursing at Clark College from 1960 to 1993. She made many contributions to the nursing profession such as helping to establish the Free Clinic of Southwest Washington, which provides free health care to Southwest Washington residents. She was active with the Washington State Nurses Association and Soroptimist International, a volunteer organization that improves the lives of women and girls. In 2015, Thimmes received Clark College’s Outstanding Alumni Award. In 1998, she was inducted into the Washington State Nurses Association Hall of Fame.
Shirley Ann Sackman worked at Clark for 26 years as an English faculty member. After retiring in 1992, she worked part-time through 2006. She was the first faculty member to receive the Presidential Coin from Clark President Robert Knight. She was well loved by her students and admired by colleagues. “She’s a one of a kind. She’s the most magnificent woman I’ve ever met,” said Joan Raney, who was Sackman’s student in 1973.