“A man of strong character with great passion for good teaching and deep learning.”
These are just a few ways in which Mark Engstrom has been described by his colleagues. After a nationwide search, Mark was selected to be the new Episcopal Middle School Division Head. Lucy Smith, the longtime Middle School Head will pass the baton to Mark when she steps away from the Middle School Head position after more than 25 years of outstanding leadership and service to Episcopal students. Mark will build on the Middle School foundation with the support and confidence of the Episcopal community. Parents of fifth, sixth and seventh graders are invited to join in Monday, February 18th between 1:30 and 3:00 PM in the Alumni House Parlor for the opportunity to meet Mark and his wife, Nicole.
Mark will join the Episcopal community over the summer of 2019 after most recently leading both the Middle and Upper School divisions at Allen Academy in Bryan, Texas. Similar to Episcopal, Allen Academy serves students from PreK-3 through twelfth grade. As the oldest accredited, non-sectarian preparatory school in the state of Texas, Allen Academy also seeks to offer students a whole child experience with an abundance of academic, athletic, artist and cultural opportunities. “We are fortunate to have attracted Mark and his family to Episcopal. His energy, goodwill and depth of experience combine with his appreciation of middle schoolers to foreshadow a smooth transition and long term success,” says Head of School Hugh McIntosh. In addition to more than two decades of experience as an educator, Mark also has experience teaching internationally. He earned a Fulbright Fellowship which allowed him to teach in South Korea for a year. He has also taught in Mexico, the United Arab Emirates, and Brazil.
The role of Episcopal Middle School Division Head allows Mark to return home. He is a Louisiana native. Mark was born in New Orleans and is a graduate of Ben Franklin High School. After graduating from Ben Franklin, he earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Kentucky and master’s degrees from the University of New Orleans and Framingham State College in Massachusetts. He has extensive experience in blended learning and has led multiple professional development opportunities regarding blended learning. He has also published articles on personalizing student education. After reading a sample of these articles, it is clear that Mark has an enthusiasm for authentic, personalized learning and a collaborative spirit which makes these opportunities possible in his classroom and the classrooms of fellow teachers.
The process of selecting the appropriate Middle School leader for Episcopal was thorough and thoughtful. A committee, which included Middle School faculty, reviewed resumes and interviewed numerous candidates. Eighth grade science teacher Shyamala Alapati and seventh grade history teacher Julie Weaver served on the search committee and the two look forward to welcoming Mark to campus. “Mark is a dedicated educator who has the best interest of the students at heart,” say Alapati and Weaver. The two point to his years of experience in the classroom and in school leadership as a valuable asset for the Middle School community. “His focus on deep learning and individual growth of the student will contribute to a smooth transition for students between middle and upper school.”
Mark will join Lower School Division Head Bridget Henderson and Upper School Division Head Tom Forti next school year. Both current Episcopal leaders anticipate that Mark will have a seamless transition to his new role.
“The transition from middle to upper school is a pivotal point in the life of a student and I am confident that Mark will provide the necessary guidance, support, and leadership to both his students and his faculty,” says Forti. “He understands the importance of academic rigor while providing for the social/emotional needs of adolescents. An experienced educator with an abundance of energy and enthusiasm, Mark will doubtless be a wonderful addition to the Episcopal community.”
“Mark’s enthusiasm about middle school and about the opportunity at Episcopal was evident from the start,” says Henderson. “Because he has administrative experience in a Pre K-3 through 12th grade school, Mark already knows the importance of cross-divisional collaboration and smooth transitions. We will work closely with Mark and the Middle School team to assure that our students are poised for success.”
Mark and his wife Nicole will relocate to Baton Rouge this summer. They have two children – Emma, a current seventh grader and Alex, a current freshman. Please join us in welcoming the Engstroms to the Episcopal family.
Stay tuned, too, for news about honoring and celebrating Lucy Smith’s storied career at Episcopal!