John Chisholm was pleased to introduce Mark Musca and his classification talk at the Rotary Club of Belleville lunch meeting.  Mark is the Head of School at Albert College, a life-long educator and a member of the Quinte Rotary Music Festival.
Mark's middle name comes from his grandfather, Carmine Musca, a proud connection to rural southern Italy, a place called Sannicola di Lecce which is in Publia, the heel of the Italian boot.  Mark's grandfather was a great story  teller and looking back, Mark credits his grandfather for sparking his interest in history.  Carmine was a hardworking, intelligent and wise man and in 1954 he followed a brother to Canada and moved his family to Ottawa, started working as a painter for Canadian National Railway and Mark's grandmother continued applying her seamstress skills.  Through hard work and living frugally, the family was an example of an immigrant experience.  Even Mark's father, who at 12, started working after school understood the need to earn what he could to support the family.  Through the family's perseverance and sacrifices, they bought properties and the rent from those properties paid for Mark's education and Mark recognizes not only the material benefits of his parents and grandparents, but also the guidance their upbringing provided.
Both Mark's parents became teachers and met in Ottawa where Mark was born and spent his early years.  The family moved to Belleville in 1979 and Mark attended school here until the family moved to Smiths Falls where Mark graduated from high school.  One thing Mark remembers from those early years in Belleville was Jim's Pizzeria.  After high school, Mark attended Carleton University, obtaining a BA with a major in history and it was there that he met his wife Claudia on a blind date described by Mark as the 1990's equivalent of online dating.  Mark's career as an educator started after University, as a high school history teacher in Brockville, followed by a move into administration, first as a vice principal and then as principal.  He credits an amazing mentor, early in his career, Jane McMillan and he still finds himself asking "what would Jane do?" in many situations that come up.  His next step was superintendent that included a new role of HR where he had to learn quickly all the ropes dealing with grievance arbitration, contract negotiations, labour relations, many of which were very stressful.  Mark started to consider independent school systems and became principal at Villanova College in King City, Ontario.  As a family, the time was right for a move to York Region.  A large percentage of the student population is made up of students of Italian descent and Mark found it wonderful to work with families who had similar cultural experiences as his own.  Wanting to be closer to his family in Ottawa, Mark applied to Albert College when Head Keith Stansfield, announced his retirement in 2019,
So Mark is back in Belleville, walking the same streets that he did 40 years ago, working at Albert College, a school that has been around longer than Canada has been a country.  Founded in 1857, Albert has been educating international and local students for well over a century and a half.  Student enrolment is 300 from pre-K to Grade 12.  One hundred are international students from over 15 countries around the world.  The greatest benefit Mark has experienced has been driving his children to and from school everyday when they lived in Newmarket and being present at each of his
daughters graduations, presenting their diplomas.
Mark was thanked by Len Kennedy who was on the Board at Albert College when Mark became the successful Head of Education, a good match for the school and the community.