By: Zoe Null and Tobey Reyes
Student, English teacher, coach and friend Mark Whitburn has been the longest standing member of the San Marin community. Whitburn has been at the school for 48 out of the last 49 years since San Marin opened.
Whitburn attended San Marin when it opened in 1968. During his five years in college, he also coached baseball and was a substitute teacher. He began teaching in February of 1977 and is now in his last year at San Marin before he retires.
With so many years of experience, Whitburn has learned and accomplished a lot throughout his time of teaching. Whitburn spent a majority of his time as a baseball coach and has reached a few milestones along the way. He was the first person in school history to have his uniform number retired. Whitburn was also the youngest coach to win a NCS title. Along with that, he is a member of the Marin County Athletic Hall of Fame for baseball.
Whitburn did not always plan on being a high school teacher, but he gained valuable life lessons from it.
“I learned that I can be more patient in the classroom than I can be with other things in life,” Whitburn said. “I’m pretty patient around the kids, I think.”
What sets Whitburn apart from the others is the influence and mark he has left on many students’ hearts. Whitburn has impacted the lives of all of his students and athletes in some way.
“He was not only my teacher and my favorite all-time coach, but the big brother I never had,” Jim Wandzilak, class of 1984, said. “He impacted my life by simply always being there for me while growing up. I will always be grateful for that. Whit has been loyal to all members of my family. He has been with me for every significant family event since I’ve known him. He is quite simply one of the best people I’ve ever met. I cherish my friendship with him.”
“Outside of my parents, Whit has been the biggest influence on my life,” another former student, Scott Boyle said. “There isn’t much I have accomplished that isn’t attached to something he taught me.”
Whitburn has not only had an impact on his students but his colleagues as well.
Current English teacher and Whitburn’s former student teacher, Scott MacLeod said, “I was fortunate to have Whit as my mentor for my student teaching. The most important thing he taught me was to ‘find time for the round table.’ He had a small table next to his desk where he would meet with students one-on-one. The round table is a constant reminder for me that great teaching and learning starts with relationships and connecting with students.”
After retirement, Whitburn plans to travel but is unsure of where exactly.
“I just want to see things in my own country before I go see someone else’s,” Whitburn said. “[I’ll] probably get in my car and drive, see where it takes me.”