Mark Ortega


Maria Yassopoulos, Author

Mark J. Ortega teaches honors and regular geometry. “I enjoy the challenge of trying to help students to appreciate all the details of math,” he said. “I know that it can be work, but I have seen enough of my past students move into amazing careers and onto many college opportunities because of the student knowledge.”

Mr. Ortega earned a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts from St. John’s College in Santa Fe. He also has many credit hours from Santa Fe Community College in areas of study such as philosophy, math, biology, physics, chemistry, culinary arts, anthropology, and foreign languages (French, German, Portuguese, Italian, Russian, Ancient Greek, and Sanskrit).

Born and raised in Santa Fe, Mr. Ortega moved to Paris at 18 for a year and a half and returned to Paris four times over the following eight years. He was studying to become a translator or a linguist in France but could not continue to go back and forth to France because he didn’t have a work visa.

When asked why he chose to teach math, he said, “A fellow Johnnie [St. John’s student] convinced me to teach math. I have tried English and biology, but I am very critical in English, and I don’t fully understand how to convince others to enjoy reading when I enjoy reading so much.”

Mr. Ortega graduated from Santa Fe High. As a student, he performed in a lot of plays and in “Demon Spotlight,” a bi-weekly TV show in which students would record and broadcast stories around campus. He participated in Model United Nations, Future Business Leaders of America, Key Club and Student Council. He also competed on the swim team, the cross country team, and the speech and debate team.

When Mr. Ortega was in high school he thought that the students did not appreciate their teachers. However, he said, “I am very thankful to all of my teachers. I feel that I owe it to the community to give to other people as I have been given knowledge. It is my most valuable resource, and I feel honored to pass it along to another group of students.” He has learned that he does a good service in educating his students. “I love being a teacher, whether my students fully appreciate me or not,” he said.

Mr. Ortega joined the staff of SFHS in January of 2016 after teaching at Capital High School for 14 years. “SFHS is very spread out, but I do enjoy many of the people here,” he said.

In his free time, Mr. Ortega enjoys spending time with his father and his three dogs.