Sonoma County Office of Education

Employee Spotlight: Mark Niemann from NCSOE

02/24/2020 -

Name: Mark Niemann
Years at SCOE: I started in August 2019.
Job Title: Curriculum Coordinator at North Coast School of Education
How do you describe your job to people outside SCOE? My focus is on supporting teacher induction and writing curriculum to support new teachers and their mentors. These sessions are based on the California Standards for the Teaching Profession as well as program mentor standards. Topics range from classroom management, planning instruction, and assessment to integrating technology, social-emotional learning, and equity and bias.
Where did you grow up? Napa. My parents still live there.
Who was your favorite childhood teacher and why? There was no shortage of great teachers. One who stands out was an aviation teacher, Mr. Gallagher, who I had during my senior year. There was a diverse group of students, from a few UC-track students to others who just happened upon it as an elective. He was a pilot; a no-nonsense, hands-on, I can do anything kind of person. He fostered a respect for everyone in the class and focused or their strengths. He created a diversified curriculum to meet the needs of everyone in the class.
What is your favorite thing about SCOE? I felt welcome from the very first time I came here. I felt that I could be myself and that people were excited to have me here. It was a big leap of faith to leave my job as a teacher at Novato Unified School District after 13 years, but I was embraced with open arms. I also love that there is a true desire here to constantly get better and innovate and do the next right thing. SCOE really wants to push the educational envelope forward and do what is best for kids.
What is one of your most memorable moments as a SCOE employee? Seeing a gray fox walk by the window outside of our office.
Outside of work, what is your favorite hobby or way to unwind? Spending time with my kids ( ages three and seven). We like to do fun outdoor activities like hiking and going to the snow in Tahoe. We are trying to help our kids develop a passion for nature, and for doing something good in the world (like volunteering).
What is your favorite place in Sonoma County? Howarth Park. We also love Tolay Lake - It is a spectacular nature preserve.
What might people be surprised to learn about you? I started the Sonoma State Rowing team in 2003. I rowed when I was at UC Davis and competed at the national level but had decided not to pursue competition any further when some kids at SSU approached me about starting a team. I was the first coach. In the third year, the girls took the NCAA championship.