Mark Bielang


Mark Bielang ( Central Michigan University: Ed.S. ’92 Educational Administration; Western Michigan University: B.S. ‘74 Industrial Education; M.A. ‘81 Educational Leadership) is Superintendent of Portage Public Schools, a position he has held since 2013. Prior to Portage, Bielang was Superintendent of Schools in Paw Paw, MI for 18 years (1995-2013).

Mark started his educational career as an Industrial Education/Building Trades teacher in Three Rivers, MI where he went on to begin his administrative career as an assistant high school principal. Other stops on his journey included serving as principal at Central Montcalm High School (MI) and Ionia High School (MI).

In 2005-06 Bielang was elected by his peers to serve as president of the Michigan Association of School Administrators (MASA). He also served on the American Association of School Administrators (AASA) Governing Board and Executive Committee and during the 2009-10 school year was elected as AASA President. In the community, Mark has been an active member of local Kiwanis and Rotary Clubs and has been a long-serving president of Habitat for Humanity Van Buren County. For several years, Mark was on the board of The Center for Courage and Renewal (CCR), a Seattle-based organization founded by author, activist, and teacher, Parker Palmer. The foundational practices and principles of CCR continue to influence Mark’s work and that of district leaders to lead with courage and integrity.

Mark has always been a builder. Whether it’s building a house, a school, or an organization, all require a strong foundation. Consistent and reliable leadership requires that these foundations be strengthened in order to create great organizations. While in Paw Paw, Mark oversaw the construction of a new high school and elementary school in addition to major renovations of other district facilities. In Portage, Mark helped facilitate the passage of the two largest bond proposals in district history… the first of which resulted in two new middle schools, natatoriums at the two high school campuses, and new stadiums and athletic event facilities at each high school. The second bond will allow for, among other facility improvements, the replacement of the district’s five oldest elementary schools.

Today, Mark is working with his administrative team and staff to make Portage Public Schools the best place for students to learn, teachers to teach, staff to work, and parents to send their children to get a high quality education.

Outside of work Mark enjoys woodworking, hiking, golfing, riding both his pedal bike and his Harley bike, and spending time with his family which includes three children and five grandchildren.

  • Company Portage Public Schools


Day 2
January 25, 2024
1:45 pm

How to Pass Your Next Facilities Bond, Even if You’ve Failed Before [Leadership Development]

25 January
Time:  1:45 pm - 3:00 pm
Location:  Greco (Level 4)

One of the greatest frustrations many districts face is failing a much needed facilities bond. In this session we will discuss the four reasons why voters don’t support facility bonds,what districts can do to win those voters over so the next bond passes, and learn from two districts who failed a bond request and how they were able to succeed with their next request.

3:15 pm

Improving Employee Experience: Leadership Practices to Change Perception [Leadership Development]

Marquettte B (Level 5)
25 January
Time:  3:15 pm - 4:30 pm
Location:  Marquettte B (Level 5)

Have you ever taken a survey and wondered what happened to the results? Learn two simple leader behaviors that can change how employees perceive the leadership in their schools and district departments. Results Rollout is a process of transparently sharing survey results and building a short action plan (one or two steps) to improve the employee experience. Rounding is a short conversation held periodically between leaders and employees that can be used as a follow-up “check” on how the action steps are working. These two leader processes are simple to learn, do not take much time to implement, and have a big impact on how employees feel about their leaders and their workplace

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