Born and raised in the Midwest, Mark Ulfers graduated from Iowa State University with degrees in both the life sciences and language and literacy. After five years of teaching he completed an MS in Educational Administration and became an elementary school principal at the age of 27. Shortly after taking on the leadership of his first school, Mark devoted weekends and summers as a language and literacy consultant, working with universities and school districts in the United States and Canada. Moving to Colorado, Mark worked four years as principal with the Littleton Public Schools.
In 1987, Mark was hired into the Republic of Singapore to serve as the early childhood through middle school principal at the Singapore American School. Three years later he was offered and accepted the opportunity to develop and lead the first American school on the island of Cyprus. While head of school, enrollment at the International School of Cyprus tripled with the rigorous academic program recognized by the expatriate community, allowing the school to complete its application to become an IB World school.
Mark was hired into the Taipei American School, first as principal and then for nine years as headmaster. After twelve years in Taiwan, Mark became the head of school at Frankfurt International School in Germany, where he completed five years of service. Beginning July 2010, Mark became the head of school of the American School of Paris.
Now completing 24 years overseas and a total of 33 years as a teacher and school leader, Mark has always committed time to community service. He has been elected to the board of trustees of the East Asia Regional Council of Overseas Schools, where he served as president for five years. Mark worked with Jane Goodall in helping to found the Jane Goodall Foundation in Asia. He was a founding board member of the Academy of International School Heads and was president of the Association for the Advancement of International Education. He also leads an annual trip to teach and support the young people of the Kalahari Desert in South Africa, helping them pass their matriculation exams for college entrance.
Places, posts and titles hold little interest in comparison to achieving positive student learning results within a carefully considered and disciplined school climate that invites continuous improvement by all within the school. The process of building capacity for change and growth and marshaling people around this essential work captures Mark’s full attention. Mark is convinced that strategic planning ensures alignment between organizational beliefs, mission, goals for long-term improvement, professional development resources, curriculum (21st century skills), teaching and learning practices and assessment of student achievement.
Mark is living in Paris, France with his wife Wendy. His children, Adam and Lara, are products of international education, both speak Chinese and continue to draw on a world of experiences from being raised overseas.