Degrees and Certifications:
Hello! My name is Mark J. Westpfahl and I teach 6th grade Minnesota Studies and 7th grade American Studies. This is my 7th year teaching at Capitol Hill. GO COUGARS! I have been teaching in the Saint Paul Public Schools since 2009.
I live in South Saint Paul with my wife Jennifer, and our three children, Grace (15), Connor (12) and Eleanor (9).
I graduated from Onalaska High School in 1997 where I participated in football, basketball, baseball, track and golf. After high school I attended Western Technical College in La Crosse, WI were I earned my Associates Degree in Commercial Art with a focus on Graphic Design. I decided to go back to school to become a history teacher and spent two and a half years at the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire before finishing up my Bachelors Degree in History at the University of Minnesota in 2008. I received my Masters of Education from the University of Minnesota in 2016.
I was nominated for Minnesota Teacher of the Year in 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017 & 2016 and was a semifinalist for Minnesota Teacher of the Year in 2016 and 2017. I was also nominated for the the Gilder Lehrman National Teacher of the Year and the Minneosta Council for the Social Studies Teacher of the Year in 2020.
Here are a few fun facts about me:
- I love llamas.
- My favorite team is the Packers!
- I served on the Board of Education in Inver Grove Heights (2011-2015).
- I was a 2015 Catherine B. Reynolds Civil War Washington Teachers Fellow.
- I was a Ford's Theatre Teaching Fellow in 2017 with a focus on #TeachReonstruction.
- I was a White House Historical Association Teaching Fellow in 2019.
- I've coached high school football for nearly a decade, winning one state championship, losing two more state championships and being a game away two additional times.
- I love politics, even though it can be a nasty business. I ran for Mayor of Winona, Minnesota when I was 21, was the Second Congressional District GOP Chairman, served on the GOP State Executive Board, had Vice President Walter Mondale write my Letter of Recommendations to get into my Masters of Education program and had President Obama tell me "You're a great teacher!" Not wanting to be outdone, President Trump said "Good teacher" to me after saying "That man is agressive. He's agressive. He's an agressive one!" For more context of our visits with President Trump and President Obama, visit https://www.spps.org/Page/7016.