Mark has worked in the Swain County School System for 34 continuous years. His initial experience as a public school employee was driving a bus while still in high school in the early 1980’s. After graduation from Swain County High School, Mark completed his Bachelor’s and Graduate Degrees from Western Carolina University. During this time, he married his high school sweetheart, Susan Dehart. She is a career educator and spent most of her professional life as a Swain County early childhood special needs teacher before becoming the director of Bright Adventures Prekindergarten.
Mark and Susan have been married for 37 years and have three amazing children. Jonathan is a band director in Union County, NC. Timothy is a band director in Swain County. Lydia is a third year first grade teacher in Swain County as well. Mark and Susan’s children are fourth generation teachers following in the footsteps of their paternal and maternal great-grand parents. When they are able to be with family, Mark and Susan enjoy being part of the lives of their grandchildren, Marshall and JJ.
Mark began his teaching career in 1987 as the first fulltime elementary music teacher in Swain County. He moved toward administration in 2006 as an assistant principal at the middle school and shortly moved into the principal’s office. In 2013, Mark became principal at Swain County High School. After five years, the opportunity to serve as superintendent became available.
Mark would say that a lifetime in public education is not a career. Instead, it is a calling. He believes he was called to elementary education and then into administration. Neither of these were part of his life plan as a teenager or a young adult. Mark has also been called to minister in the local church. He has served, with his family, in church leadership for the past 36 years. Mark has served as the pastor of a small church for the past 26 years.
Mark feels blessed to have been allowed to work with the most precious of God’s creation for the past three decades. He plans to continue to fulfill this call as long as his God gives him strength and the opportunity.