Mark was born in Fortuna, California and was raised in Rio Dell. Growing up in Rio Dell provided many opportunities to get outdoors and experience the natural world. Mark found one of his many interests while attending Fortuna Union High School when he started volunteering with an environmental group on campus. It was this volunteering that helped develop the course that his future career would take.
He then continued pursuing this love in college at the University of Redlands where he gained a bachelors of science in Environmental Science emphasizing his studies in Botany and Restoration Ecology. After graduating from University of Redlands Mark worked for a short stint as a Field Botanist with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, and then a project geologist for groundwater restoration firm in Eureka.
Mark was always idly interested in teaching and when he got the chance to start substitute teaching he realized how much he loved working with the students and seeing their moments of discovery. He was hooked. Soon after Mark went back to school at Humboldt State University and received his teaching credential in Biology and Chemistry. It was here that he developed the understanding that all students have the ability to learn science and math at high levels and every student deserves a safe space in which to learn.