Mark Newburn - Biography
Mark Newburn grew up in Las Vegas, graduating from Rancho High School in North Las Vegas, where he was an honor student and an all- state athlete. He attended UNLV as one of the first students in Computer Science, earning both a Bachelor of Science degree and a Master of Science degree from the Department of Mathematical Sciences.
Out of college, Mark worked for EG&G in support of the Nevada Test Site. Mark has worked for some of America's top technology companies, where he specialized in Virtual Reality. In 2006, Mark founded Vizics Inc., a small software technology company. Forty years in the high tech field have taught Mark the important role science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education plays in job creation and the diversification of the economy.
Mark Newburn's interest in education flows in part from the fact that his mother was an elementary school teacher, and his father, Dr. Dan Newburn, was an eight-year member and two-term President of the Clark County Board of School Trustees. Dr. Dan Newburn led the establishment of CCSD's highly regarded Magnet School program. Mark currently has both a daughter and a daughter-in-law working as teachers. Mark and his wife have five children and four grandchildren who are now the fourth generation to attend public school in Nevada.
As a longtime education advocate, Mr. Newburn serves on several educational boards. Mark serves on the Northwest Career and Technical Academy Engineering Advisory Board and the UNLV Howard R. Hughes College of Engineering Advisory Board. He serves as chair of the UNLV Computer Science Department Industry Advisory Board, where he co-founded UNLV's first scholarship for Computer Science. He is the past President of UNLV's College of Engineering Alumni Chapter.
Mark Newburn originally ran for office during the Great Recession to call attention to the critical role our public education system must play in the transformation of our economy into the 21st century. Since taking office, board member Newburn has championed the modernization of Nevada's K-12 education system to teach the skills our kids need to succeed in this "New Nevada." His three key areas of modernization have been (1) the improvement of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education, (2) the addition of computer science as a core academic subject, and (3) the development of higher rigor high school diploma requirements.
Mr. Newburn is one of Nevada's earliest and best-known advocates for excellence in K-12 STEM education. Board member Newburn has taken the lead in several state STEM education-related initiatives, especially around increasing access for girls, rural kids, kids of color, and kids in poverty. He was a key author of the state's Strategic STEM Education Plan and served as Nevada's representative to the White House's Federal STEM Summit. In recognition of his work in STEM education, both Governor Sandoval and Governor Sisolak have appointed Mr. Newburn to the Nevada State Advisory Council on STEM, where he currently serves as co-chair.
To address the potential impact computer automation may have on our kids after they graduate, board member Newburn has been the state's leader in making computer science a core academic subject. Nevada's groundbreaking 2017 Senate Bill 200 and 2019 Senate Bill 313 were both co-authored by Mr. Newburn. These bills require all students to receive computer science education and require all high schools to offer computer science with particular emphasis on recruiting girls, kids of color, and kids with disabilities. He has worked to develop keys public/private partnerships to help fund the training of a new generation of computer science teachers. Thanks to these efforts, Nevada is now considered one of the top states in the nation in K-12 computer science education.
Even though Nevada's high school graduation rate has grown from 63% to 83% since his election, board member Newburn has pushed to get our kids more college and career ready. Mr. Newburn served as chair of the State Board's High School Graduation Requirements Subcommittee, where he was instrumental in the development of the new College and Career Ready Diploma (CCR). Additionally, he successfully led the effort to raise the rigor of the current Standard Diploma by requiring more college-oriented and career-oriented courses.
Mark was elected Vice President of the Nevada State Board of Education by his fellow board members in 2016. In 2019, he was selected to chair the State Superintendent Selection Committee. Mr. Newburn is one of four elected members to the eleven-member State Board of Education, which has become one of the most highly respected and most student outcome-focused education boards in the state. The State Board of Education acts as an advocate and visionary for all children. Working with stakeholders such as parents, teachers, and school districts, the State Board develops statewide education policy and accountability measures. The State Board plays a central role in determining what our kids need to know and be able to do at each grade.