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Mark, a World-Class Climber, Helps Students to the Top

Posted on June 30th, 2011

2011 EXCELLENCE IN TEACHING AWARD RECIPIENT, MARK SMITH
Portland Adventist Academy | Oregon Conference
Algebra I, computer science & 2D animation

Mark is a systematic thinker, a program builder, and his focus and productivity have been keys to winning numerous grants for student projects. In fact, he raised $15,000 to build the second largest bouldering gym in Oregon on the campus of Portland Adventist Academy (PAA). In addition to teaching responsibilities, Mark serves as the coach of the rock-climbing club on campus. He can boast that students spend more hours rock climbing than doing any other sport at PAA. Mark is also a world-class rock climber himself.

Beyond sport, Mark’s interest in overall student wellness is evident in the time he spends before and after class to help students meet their academic and spiritual needs. In order to provide students the opportunity for challenge and growth, he completed the work necessary to add four college-credit classes and advanced placement classes to the computer department, which he chairs.

“True fulfillment does not derive from a paycheck,” Mark said. “For me, fulfillment occurs when you receive a note from a graduating student thanking you for your help and guidance through their high school journey.” (Read Mark’s full personal statement here.)

His student and colleague interactions have branded Mark as an “ultimate team player.”

“I have worked with many professionals over the years, yet Mark remains the epitome of thoughtfulness, service and academic excellence,” said colleague Les Zollbrecht. “He is a mentor and motivator to our community.”

Award presentation was Wednesday, May 18, 2011, at Portland Adventist Academy.

AAF Board Member Arpad Soo presented the award to Mark.

Visit our Photo Gallery for more coverage of the award presentation.

See all 10 Phenomenal Teachers Awarded.

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