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Mark is a native of Colorado, and received his education at the University of Northern Colorado, Colorado College, and University of Colorado at Denver. He has over 30 years of teaching experience, most of it in Cherry Creek Schools in Denver, Colorado. He has worked as a classroom teacher in grades 2 through 8, a special education and Title I teacher, a coordinator for gifted programming, and as a literacy coordinator. Currently, Mark works full time supporting reading and writing workshops in schools around the US and internationally.
"I became a teacher because school has always felt like home. I never considered another profession. I began working in schools as a senior in high school. . . .I consider myself a lifelong learner, and so teaching is the perfect profession. Teaching is a process: an art that can never be perfected because each day brings new challenges. I work to become a more effective teacher every day, but I always know there is more to learn."
During the summers, Mark teaches classes for M.A. candidates in literacy at the University of Colorado. He is also an instructional coach for the Denver Writing Project, which is a part of the National Writing project. "I support teachers who are accepted into our summer intensive institute by helping them develop model lessons in writing," Mark says.
When it comes to professional development, Mark strives to model a process for writing that teachers can take back to their classrooms. "I try to make my staff development useful and concrete, but I push myself to think beyond the event itself. I listen to the needs of teachers during my presentations. I encourage interactive sessions so teachers have the opportunity to share their best thinking with colleagues."
Mark grounds his presentations in his own work with students and teachers and he is always current on research in writing instruction. As he was working on his book, he spent a lot of time brainstorming and thinking prior to writing. "As I write, I tend to find my way as the words begin to form into thoughts, and then phrases, and then sentences. As soon as my ideas become very clear, I write two to three times per week, staying with each chapter until it is complete."
When Mark is not busy teaching, speaking at national conferences, or writing, he likes to travel and read and write poetry.