Degrees and Certifications:
B.A. in Education, University of Portland Masters in Education, University of Portland
Mr. Mark Tsakistos
This is my first year at Horace Mann and my first year living in Minnesota. I grew up visiting my mom's family in Minnesota every summer, as well as my father's family in Cyprus. I was lucky enough to follow my mom and dad around the world, spending most of my childhood in Nairobi, Kenya, along with my two older brothers. Growing up overseas truly shaped who I have become as a teacher and a human being. I love to bring the world to the students in the classroom and let them learn and explore the amazing world we live in.
This is my 17th year teaching, and most of those years have been spent teaching upper elementary students. I have also spent three years teaching ESL, as well as two years teaching Social Studies in middle school. I spent my first 14 years teaching in Portland, Oregon, where I also attended university. It is truly a beautiful part of the world. I was lucky and met my wife while teaching in Oregon, and we have travelled the world together. We spent the last two years in Vilnius, Lithuania, where I was teaching 4th grade. It was always my dream to teach abroad, but we decided it was more important to be close to family.
I am excited about teaching at Horace Mann as the 4/5 combo teacher. It is a unique situation when you teach two grade levels, but it is such a positive experience for the students. The support they give to each other is truly amazing and the friendships that spring up are even more inspiring. In terms of curriculum, 4th and 5th grades are not so different. In terms of reading and writing, we are focusing on the same skills. Math can be a little more tricky at times. I teach both 4th and 5th grade math curriculum. The students become independent learners and really think about what they need to work on. In Social Studies, this year I am focusing on the 5th garde curriculum, but for morning work I add in elements of the 4th grade Social Studies curriculum.
I continue to push myself as an educator to create the best environment for my students and to be a positive colleague. I am a life-long learner and believe it is important to always learn from those around me. I am excited for the rest of this year and continuing this journey with the students.