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Mark Gardner

Msh One of the decisions which has made me the educator I am today is my decision to always put my kids first. By my kids I mean MY kids: the three boys who call me Dad. I am finding that a balance between parenthood and teacherdom has made me more effective in both realms; when the two are out of balance, they both suffer. And of course, the two seem to overlap in many ways. I chose teaching not only because of my love of learning and the desire to help young people learn, but also because teaching as a profession offers me the kind of schedule that enables me to be invovled in my own kids' lives.

Though I don't believe I should be obligated to sacrifice my life and my family for my job, I do work hard to devote my entire professional life to impacting student learning whether in my own classroom or in the classrooms of my peers. In 2013-14, I'll be in my second year in a hybrid role teaching half time and working half time as a TOSA to help with the implementation of the new evaluation system as well as to support the work our PLC teams are doing. I teach in a suburbanish-rural community high school, and am very lucky to be in a community which consistently supports its schools. 

I was born, raised, and public-school educated in Oregon. I grew up in a tiny farm town situated in the blank part of the map of Oregon (out in the everbrown), then managed to be one of only a handful in my graduating class to go on to college. After an undergrad degree from Oregon State and an MAT from Willamette, I started teaching secondary English in 2002-03. I earned my National Board Certification in Adolescent-Young Adult English Langauge Arts in 2006. 

I am open minded and, though opinionated, I know I have a lot to learn. I am always willing to consider (and adopt) new perspectives as I learn more--and I do not consider the willingness to change one's position on a matter in light of new information to be a sign of weakness. If I can teach that to my kids, and MY kids as well, I think I just might have done something right.