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Mark Sundquist begins his new role as North Marion Athletic Director, replacing Glenn Elliott, who retired earlier this year.

COURTESY PHOTO: NORTH MARION SCHOOL DISTRICT - Mark Sundquist takes over the role of athletic director at North Marion High School. He will also serve as the vice principal of student support programs.A former basketball star and the second winningest coach in George Fox University men's basketball history, joins North Marion High School as its new athletic director and vice principal of student support programs.

Mark Sundquist, an educator with more than 30 years of experience, kicked off his new role on July 1, replacing Glenn Elliott who retired earlier this year.

Sundquist, who most recently served as activities coordinator at Wilsonville High School, was a standout athlete in high school and college, before moving on to coaching and teaching and now, working as an administrator.

Sundquist says that he has discovered that students thrive when educators view them as not only learners, but as three-dimensional human beings.

"It's about the overall relationship, and it's a holistic, comprehensive approach to improving students and student athletes, because I think what goes on inside the four walls of the classroom is not the only thing that matters," Sundquist said. "It's in the band. It's in the choir. It's in drama. It's in athletic teams. It's in the clubs. It's all about getting kids involved, finding their niche in school no matter what it is, and then building upon that.

"It's important for the school to be part of their life," he added.

Experienced educator

Sundquist logged teaching and basketball coaching time at Poynter Middle School in Hillsboro, Woodburn High School, and Newberg High School before shouldering a new role as the men's basketball coach and an instructor in the George Fox Physical Education Department in 2000. Sundquist steered George Fox to the Northwest Conference Tournament for the first time since 1998, and was recognized as the Northwest Conference Coach of the Year in 2005 and 2013.

In 2010, Sundquist was recognized as the second-winningest coach in Bruins history. He left in 2013 to become a teacher, activities coordinator, boys tennis coach, and freshman football assistant coach at West Linn-Wilsonville School District. He delights in bringing all he has learned to North Marion in his new leadership role to support others.

"I think the thing I'm most excited about is to help equip young coaches and experienced coaches with the tools to improve their practice," Sundquist explained. "I would like to piggyback on the experience of coaches who have been doing this a long time and help the younger coaches along the way. I don't have all the answers. What I would like to see is our coaches learning from each other."

Education and athletics

As a student at Glencoe High School in Hillsboro, Sundquist lettered in soccer and basketball before graduating in 1984 and heading to Seattle Pacific University.

He not only earned a Bachelor of Arts in Social Sciences/Secondary Education while at Seattle Pacific, he jumped into athletics and began building his career when he was only an undergrad as the assistant coach of women's basketball.

He received four letters in basketball with the Falcons and earned a place in the All-Great Northwest Conference and All-NCAA Division II District VIII as a senior. He also found time to letter in soccer.

He continued in his studies, receiving a Master of Education from Portland State University in 1994 and a pre-administrative license from George Fox University in 2018.

Family and inspirations

Educators usually have an inspiration who drew them to teaching, and Sundquist is no exception. In fact, he had two heroes.

One of his role models was Tony Cox, a Mooberry Elementary School (Hillsboro) teacher in the 1970s who treated all of his students as if they mattered.

Sundquist's other mentor happened to be his father, who launched his tenure in administration as the youngest principal in the state and concluded his longtime education career as the assistant superintendent in Hillsboro School District.

"My dad is probably my biggest hero," Sundquist says.

Sundquist is now a father himself and has been for many years.

"My greatest achievement is being married for 31 years and having two great kids," Sundquist notes. "For me, that's the most important thing. It takes a very, very, very special spouse to be a coach's spouse, in my opinion. Oh man, the hours and hours of being away from home and dealing with everything that goes with it: the ups, the downs, the many, many nights being gone to tournaments. It takes a special person."

It also takes a special person to recognize that.

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