Get to Know Mark Connell, Postsecondary Workforce Coordinator

Profile photo of Mark Connell, Postsecondary Workforce Coordinator at Eastlake High School

Nervous about what life holds after high school? Unsure what direction you should take? Mark Connell gets it. In his role as Postsecondary Workforce Coordinator (say that 3x times fast!) for the past 3 years, Mark has been helping students identify their strengths and plan for a career that is full of opportunity. His work and care for students has made an impact on countless lives at our small, tuition-free high school. We caught up with Mark to learn what inspires him in and out of school, read on:

Tell us a bit about you. 

My wife and I love to spend time outdoors camping and hiking. We also enjoy attending concerts and music festivals. As most people here know, I am a bit of a fitness junky. Last year I cycled over 2000 miles and hiked or ran almost another 2000 miles. I used to be an avid mountaineer, and have climbed all over the western US and parts of Canada. I also have climbed in South America, reaching an elevation of just under 23,000 feet. I used to scuba dive quite a bit. My most memorable dives were with sea turtles, giant sea bass, and a Great White shark (NOT on purpose!).

What did you do before joining Eastlake High School?

My first career was as a software developer and engineering manager. I left that career in 2001 and spent several years working in many different occupations before completing my Masters in Education in 2006. Over the 4 years, I taught Elementary School through College, including a residential high school for at-risk teens. The residential school really put me on my path of working with at-risk youth and wanting to make sure they had the opportunity to be successful after high school.

What's the best part and the biggest challenge in your role as Postsecondary Workforce Coordinator?

The best part is seeing students getting excited about finding their dream career, and realizing that they can move beyond their past and find a successful future. Many students see no point in high school until they find their future career, which gets them excited about learning what they need to know to start in that career. The biggest challenge is helping the students find that career, since many of the students have never thought much about their future.

What makes Eastlake a great school for you and the students? 

Relationships. One of the best things about Eastlake, and what has kept me here longer than any other job I've ever had, is the chance to develop relationships with the students. At this school, the staff really cares about the students as people, not just as students. For many students, the opportunity to build a relationship with caring adults is rewarding for them and gives them supports that are hard to come by.

What is your favorite memory of your work at Eastlake?

It's hard to pick one but all of our graduations are my favorite events. I really like the breakfasts that we put together for the graduates and their families. It gives us a chance to meet with the families and to really celebrate each of our graduates.

Thank you, Mark, for your contributions to Eastlake High School over the last 12 years and the incredible care you show our students. 

If you are eager to get started on a path to your future career, or just want to talk with someone about the possibilities, Mark and the rest of the staff at Eastlake High School are eager to meet you. Support for your life after high school is just a click away–enroll today!

About Eastlake High School
Eastlake High School is an alternative, tuition-free public high school launched in 2004 as an answer to the growing number of students seeking options on the path to a diploma. Our highly qualified staff meets students where they are, with flexible scheduling and custom-built academic programs. Community, personalized learning and unwavering support are the heart of our mission. Located in Colorado Springs, Colorado, we enroll 9th-12th grade students year-round. Join us–We’re different on purpose.