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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Mark DiBella

My name is Mark DiBella, and I was born in DeKalb, Illinois (hometown of Cindy Crawford and me) in 1976. At the ripe old age of 1, I moved to Fredericksburg, Virginia where I spent my entire childhood before attending the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, VA. At W&M I majored in Government with a minor in Math and a focus on spades. In 1998 I moved to Houston to work in a law firm downtown, but after an existential crisis in the law library I realized that law was not for me, and I decided to become a teacher. I joined Teach For America in 1999 and spent the next 2 years teaching at Macario Garcia Elementary School in North Houston. In 2001, after meeting Chris Barbic, the dynamic founder of YES Prep Public Schools, I joined YES (a public charter school committed to providing a rigorous college prep education to underprivileged students) and served as an Algebra teacher for two years. In 2003 two fellow YES teachers and I left the Southeast Campus to start the North Central Campus, and in 2005 I became the School Director (aka Principal) of the North Central Campus. We started with just a 6th grade and have added one grade level every year. This year we have 6th through 12th grade, 760 students and 60 staff members. This year we will graduate our first senior class, and as our charter states we will send 100% of our graduates to 4 year colleges or universities. For the past 6 years YES North Central has been recognized by the Texas Education Agency as an "Exemplary" campus. This is quite an achievement given that only 6% of Texas schools are awarded this rating each year. And though I have devoted the last decade of my life to public education, my first love is my family. My wife, Erica, and I met at William and Mary in 1994 and were married on December 18, 1999. I have been happily married to Erica for almost 10 years, and we have 2 beautiful children--a 3 year old daughter, Emarie Catherine, and a 1 yaer old son, Gavin Phillip.

Areas of Interest: 
Houston Astros,
Houston Texans,
Houston Rockets,
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