Mark Lawler learned that both teaching and music could be magical motivators as a student attending an all-male Catholic boarding school in Canon City, Colo., a little more than 140 miles from his family’s home in Boulder.
It was at Holy Cross Abbey that Mark met Brother Mark, whom he described as “an extremely flamboyant but totally amazing” teacher “who was able to show me how to use music to express yourself as another media and it was just so amazingly satisfying.”
He has carried those interests through life, becoming a devotee of the blues guitar and a deeply dedicated Technology Enrichment Teacher for the Robla School District, and the current Treasurer of the Board of the Sacramento Educational Cable Consortium (SECC).
Along the way, Mark earned a bachelor’s degree in Broadcast Communications from Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wis., and a master’s degree in Educational Leadership from Sacramento State, and is preparing to pursue an online master’s degree in social media from Arizona State University.
At Robla, Mark is responsible for introducing technology into the K-6 classrooms and on helping student acquire 21st century technology skills. And he is quick to say none of that would be possible without Robla’s strong partnership with SECC.
“SECC’s efforts to bring video production into the elementary districts provides the opportunity, especially right now, for students to really understand what has to happen to develop a TV story and move the content forward,” he says. “It begins to give them the critical thinking skills to learn how to develop storylines that are designed either to entertain or to provide concrete knowledge.”
Mark’s dedication to Robla goes beyond the classroom. He has what he describes as “a deeply patriotic love of our U.S. flag.” When he noticed that many of the Robla schools had tattered flags flying from their poles, he initiated a program — still ongoing — in which the Robla Education Foundation purchases five practically new flags each year from the federal government that have flown over the U.S. Capitol. At the end of the school year, the Teacher of the Year selected at each campus receives the flag and a certificate of authenticity.
In addition to SEVA Labs at two schools, the Robla District also has one SECC-supported portable video production lab that can travel from school to school. Mark says the District is looking into placing a permanent, multi-camera video lab in one of its schools to complement the portable lab.
“Video development has taken on so many forms,” he says. “It’s important for students to have a good, clear, ethical understanding of the use of video. Too many kids at the junior high level have started utilizing video to demonstrate fights in the bathrooms and fights on the playground, instead of using it as a tool to promote a better society.”
Want to contact Mark? Write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org