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Mark Otto

Head of School


Mark began his career in 2003 as a special education teacher supporting students with diverse backgrounds and abilities in various educational settings. He is a trained facilitator through the School Reform Initiative and has facilitated various professional development opportunities for schools and districts throughout the United States with a particular focus on equity and access. Mark has been a steadfast advocate for all students and believes each child must have access to highly engaging, academically rigorous, and culturally relevant instruction. He earned his B.S in Elementary Education, and M.S in Special Education from SUNY New Paltz as well as his M.S in Educational Leadership from New York University.

In 2005 Mark was one of the founding teachers at the Facing History School. Their mission is to develop active citizens through highly rigorous and engaging curriculum and instruction while advancing a culture of learning and a school community that honors each student’s unique identity and individual needs. The Facing History School continues to lead the way through its innovative project-based learning and integrated humanities curriculum in partnership with Facing History and Ourselves. In 2009, Mark became a school administrator at The Facing History School, after the founding Principal transitioned to a new role at NYCDOE. He worked in collaboration with parents, students and staff to envision the next phase of their journey by identifying areas of strength and opportunities for growth. In 2016, Mark opened the non-profit, Friends of Facing History School, and engaged a volunteer Board of Directors to raise the funds needed to provide: upgraded technology, professional development, educational school trips, assistive technology, responsive classroom furniture, college scholarships for graduating seniors and much more.

In 2017, Mark was asked to lead the special education team at Brooklyn North Field Support Center serving over 150 schools and 28,000 students with disabilities. He was charged with re-structuring the systems and practices of the team, aligning their instructional work with the Division of Teaching and Learning, and reducing the referral rates for special education services, particularly for boys of color. During Mark’s tenure his team engaged in extensive DEIB work in partnership with the School Reform Initiative, to analyze the systems that impact opportunities for equity and to implement structural and systemic change.

In 2019, Mark was promoted to the position of Executive Director for Teaching and Learning in the Office on Nonpublic Schools with an operating budget over $300,000,000. In this role he implemented critical DEIB work in collaboration with his team and in partnership with the NYU Metro Center. He supported over 900 religious and independent schools with both instructional and operational needs related to various programs funded through Title’s I, II, III, IV, CARES, and the Smart Schools Bond Act and supervised the implementation of Title I instruction for over 35,000 students.

Mark Otto
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