2016 Blackboard Award Honoree: Dr. Mark Aschenbrand

Dr. Mark Aschenbrand accepts his Blackboard Award; photo by Karen Kaberberg

Editor’s note: To read profiles of all 2016 Blackboard Awards honorees, click HERE!

Dr. Mark Aschenbrand
Grade 8, Science
Robert F. Wagner Middle School—M.S. 167

Tell us about some of the special joys and challenges you’ve experienced as a teacher.

As a dentist for 24 years, I felt rewarded giving people the ability to eat comfortably and smile. However, nothing compares to the reward I feel every day as I give all my children the ability to learn and become independent and confident in themselves as they change and develop into young adults. I am especially rewarded working with at-risk students and, whether I teach them or not, helping them turn their struggles into successes.

Please share a special project or achievement that you are particularly proud of from this year.

I successfully facilitated a collegial study group that focused on deep writing in the content areas and watched as my science students used these strategies to write personal impact statements about cancer. Then they provided me with feedback as to which strategies worked and did not work.

Dr. Mark Aschenbrand; photo by Andrew Schwartz

Over the course of your career, what do you consider your greatest accomplishments?

I believe that my success as an educator is measured not by my personal accomplishments but rather by the achievements of my students, no matter how big or how small. Their challenges are my challenges; their successes are my successes. Every year at graduation as I watch my students walk across the stage, I feel proud of their accomplishments and know that I have touched their lives in some way.

What keeps you motivated and committed to being a dedicated and hard-working educator?

One could say that it is the inner passion for the work I do that drives me and the sense of fulfillment from making personal connections with my students as people that keeps me motivated. It is especially gratifying when my graduated students return to see me and share stories of their next steps in life and what they have achieved, and reaffirm how our instructional time together impacted their lives.