In college, Mark Alcorn planned to become a computer scientist. That all changed after he worked as a teacher’s aide in an elementary computer lab. There he gained experience working with K-5 students and found a way to apply his problem-solving skills in a school environment. At the University of California, San Diego, Alcorn’s courses included Pre-Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences. He then switched paths and attended San Diego State University where he received his Bachelor’s Degree in Liberal Studies and his Multiple Subject K-8 Clear Credential, then in 2000, earning a Master of Arts in Curriculum and Instruction with an Emphasis in K-8 Mathematics Education.
Alcorn’s career has taken him from Kennedy, Zamorano and Jackson elementary schools to his current school site, Lee Elementary. After nearly 21 years of teaching experience, he has established a core belief in the value of building a positive relationship between a teacher and each student. Everyday, he creates an environment where his students feel respected and important. Walking into his classroom, one can immediately sense the respect that he and his students have for each other. He takes the time to work with students individually to help them solve difficult math problems. He modifies curricula and emphasizes a variety of problem-solving techniques which allow his students access to solving problems and learning to do for themselves.
“Access” is the key to his success with compelling students to take on work and become more responsible for their own education. Alcorn believes his greatest contribution in the classroom has been helping struggling students to turn around with the newly found self-confidence that they can and will achieve.
With his success in the classroom, Alcorn shares teaching techniques and advice with both new and experienced teachers. As Teacher of the Year, he plans to promote a strong collaborative effort among teaching professionals, fostering discussions about best practices so that we can raise the level of instruction for all students. He states, “As teachers, we form positive relationships with our students. We not only provide models for them to grow into, but also provide the link to motivate them to give their best.”
San Diego Unified congratulates Mark Alcorn and his family on his selection as 2011 Elementary School Teacher of the Year.