Meet our Superintendents: Mark DiBella

Mark DiBella, Superintendent – Houston

Mark came to Houston through Teach For America in 1999 and has been at YES Prep since 2001, where he began as a math teacher.  Mark served as a school leader for seven years on two YES Prep campuses and also on our Head of Schools team.  Most recently he has served as our Vice President of Operations.  Mark studied political science and math at the College of William & Mary and he recently earned a Masters in Business Administration from Rice University as part of the Rice Education Entrepreneurship Program.  
What you need to know about Mark:
What are you most excited about for your new role?  Since my one word resolution for the year is “relationships,” I am most excited about connecting with all of the YES Prep teammates that I don’t currently know.  I’m also incredibly excited to work with the members of the Houston Senior Leadership Team as we lead Houston into this next stage of our growth.  I’d put this team up against any leadership team in the country universe!
Who’s a teacher who had a major impact on you growing up?  My ninth grade English teacher forced me, against my will and better judgment, to read the unabridged version of Les Miserables.  I remember getting to the end of it and not being able to put it down.  When I finished reading it, I immediately started over and read it again.  It was the first time I truly understood the power of written word.  I want every single student at YES Prep to experience that moment when reading becomes deeply personal.
What do you do for fun when you’re not redefining possible/closing the opportunity gap?  I run, am a deacon at my church, try to survive parenting my two kids, and spend time enjoying being with my wife, Erica—the lovely librarian at YES Prep Southeast!  Then when I’m done all that, I go for another run.
What’s your theme song?  Flesh and Bone (Jacques Lu Cont Remix) by the Killers… If you haven’t heard this song, stop what you’re doing and listen to it.  If you’re a runner, it’ll make you run faster.  If you’re not a runner, you just might become one.  Either way, it will create in you an insatiable desire to accomplish something big and bold.  And, yes, it’s important that you get the remix version.
What’s your favorite place in Houston & why?  It’s a toss-up between Liberty Kitchen restaurant in the Heights because they have bacon jam and fried oyster deviled eggs and just about any running trail around Allen Parkway or Memorial Park because after the trails I can go consume bacon jam and fried oyster deviled eggs.  And, yes, bacon jam is exactly what it sounds like and rumor has it is the condiment of choice in heaven.
I am a closet Taylor Swift fan!  When you have a 7 year old daughter, you hear a lot of Taylor Swift.  Fact.  When you have a 7 year old daughter, you need to have Taylor Swift on your playlist to listen to in the car.  Half-truth.  When you have a 7 year old daughter, you need to have Taylor Swift on your iPod for when you’re at the gym.  Fiction.

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