Well-regarded upper-school math teacher found a home at Notre Dame.
When Notre Dame Prep math teacher Mark McCaskey decided years ago in Pennsylvania that he might be happier as a computer programmer than a teacher, he gave up his school job to work at Electronic Data Systems.
For twelve years he toiled at EDS.
“I moved to computer programming, thinking that a computer would be like the ideal student. One that follows every one of my instructions to the letter,” McCaskey said. “I was wrong. I missed the fun of teaching and working with people. Teaching is where I belong.”
It seems teaching is where McCaskey’s destiny has always pointed. He comes from a family of teachers—five of the seven McCaskey kids in Pennsylvania became teachers. His great-great grandfather taught in Pennsylvania schools for 50 years and they even named a school in Lancaster after him.
But armed with a B.S. in mathematics from Mansfield University of Pennsylvania, a Certificate in Computer Education from Penn State University, five years teaching in public schools and 12 years as a systems engineer at EDS, McCaskey signed on at NDP as a math teacher in 1997.
“I fell in love with NDP right from the start,” he said. “The people, faculty and students are what makes it such a great place to teach.”
NDP principal Fr. Joe Hindelang, s.m., said McCaskey was a great hire. “Mark cares deeply about our students,” Hindelang said. “He challenges them and helps them to understand and accomplish more than they think is possible. He loves math and works tirelessly with creative—some might say strange—methods to get them to remember and relate concepts and formulas. More than that, he inspires students to be better people by his genuine concern, humor, faith and humility.”
Lots of changes
Since 1997, McCaskey says he’s witnessed much transformation at Notre Dame.
“I’ve seen three big changes in the school since 1997. The campus, the number of faculty members and the curriculum have all grown tremendously,” he said. “Since I first got here, I count at least eight building projects, from the B-wing construction to the new lower-division facility. The year before I started, there were two teachers in the mathematics department. Now there are seven. And with the addition of the IB program, what we offer our students in terms of opportunities for study has really blossomed, too!”
Not always about math
It’s not all numbers, high school kids and whiteboards everyday, 24/7, for McCaskey, however.
He and his wife, Eleanor, who works in NDPMA’s IT department, have four children, now all grown and independent, which leaves them with time to ride their motorcycles. Mark said he also rides his bicycle more than 1,000 miles each summer.
But getting back to school each fall remains a special time for him. “I look forward each new school year to having another opportunity to prepare more students for the next level, for the college math classes they will meet,” he said. “I also always hope each year that I act as a good role model for the kids—as a person who really loves his job, loves mathematics and truly cares about the students.”
Follow Notre Dame on Twitter at @NDPMA.
About Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy
Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy is a private, Catholic, independent, coeducational day school located in Oakland County. The school's upper division enrolls students in grades nine through twelve and has been named one of the nation's best 50 Catholic high schools (Acton Institute) four times since 2005. Notre Dame's middle and lower divisions enroll students in jr. kindergarten through grade eight. All three divisions are International Baccalaureate "World Schools." NDPMA is conducted by the Marist Fathers and Brothers and is accredited by the Independent Schools Association of the Central States and the North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement. For more on Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy, visit the school's home page at www.ndpma.org.