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Charlotte new principal faces challenges

“Learning is just making a connection between something abstract and the life of a kid,” says Myers Park High School’s new principal, Mark Bosco. “What really excites me is seeing what kids can do with what they are taught.”

Bosco, 43, thought he wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps and be an attorney.

“I did pre-law and minored in history, even started a master’s in political science,” he says.

But when he took a job at the YMCA he discovered that he enjoyed working with students. His “aha” moment came when his mother, a teacher, said, ‘Hello! You like working with kids, and you’re a history buff!’ ” says Bosco. His career as an educator was launched.

A native of Morris, N.Y., Bosco earned a bachelor’s degree at Hartwick College and a master’s from State University of New York at Albany.

Upon graduation teaching jobs were scarce in New York state. His mom’s mentor when she was an assistant principal in New York was Jim Amendum, then principal of Myers Park High School. He advised Bosco to send a resume to Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. For the next four years, Bosco taught middle-school social studies and high-school history at Northwest School of the Arts.

He left CMS in 1998 to earn a Certificate of Advanced Studies from the State University of New York at Cortland, which qualified him to be a principal and a superintendant.

Bosco returned to Charlotte in 2001, and held positions as assistant principal at Northwest School of the Arts, principal at Quail Hollow Middle School and principal of Independence High School. In 2011 he became the second in command, or executive director, of the Northeast Zone learning community at CMS.

“I was the fix-it guy,” says Bosco. His superintendant was an elementary specialist, and Bosco worked as the secondary education specialist. He helped supervise staff, and coached principals and assistant principals.

While he loved his job, he wasn’t completely satisfied.

“My impact was too far removed, and I missed it,” he said.

When he learned Myers Park Principal Thomas Spivey was retiring, Bosco made it known he was interested in the job.

“It was really a conflict between the heart and the head,” says Bosco. “I was on a career trajectory; I thought the next step would be to go to central office. But I’ve always really admired Myers Park High School. I live in the community, I have neighbors who go here. My wife is pregnant with our third child, and I had this moment, and knew that I have to do what makes me happy.”

Bosco is excited about the large and diverse population that makes up Myers Park High School. He believes the ability to be collaborative and competitive are crucial to post-high school success. “Kids can have a real-world experience that will prepare them for the real world,” he says about the school.

Myers Park High School opened in 1951 and includes a 62-acre campus and 13 individual buildings, and now has more than 2,700 students. Bosco cites the large population as a plus, because it ensures a large number of resources, including the number of Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate classes, as well as an active PTSA.

“We’ve got a great reputation for creating a family feel here, with a focus on customer service, and teachers supporting that total school program.”

But there are challenges.

“The trick is balancing the support of those programs with the needs of other kids,” he acknowledges.

This year the school is introducing a program called “Teaching with Love and Logic,” in collaboration with the Teen Health Connection. The program teaches kids to think, by reinforcing the notion that poor choices come with consequences.

A gregarious man with a positive outlook, Bosco comes to the job without preconceived notions.

“Philosophically, I want to figure things out myself,” he says.

His wish list includes increasing teacher access to technology, as well as upgrading the campus to relieve overcrowding.

In his free time Bosco is a cyclist. His wife, Samantha, is an upper-school counselor at Charlotte Country Day. They have two children, Landon, 10, and Grace, 7.

His hope for Myers Park High is to provide the best possible benefit for the greatest number of kids. As to what he learns from mistakes, Bosco says, “the trick is knowing how to embrace the fact that you made a bad choice. I’ve learned you have to take the time to listen and evaluate and make a rational decision.”

Lynn Trenning is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Lynn? Email her at trelmt@bellsouth.net.
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