The Port Arthur News
PORT ARTHUR —
When Mark Porterie accepted a job with Port Arthur Independent School District in 1992, his loftiest aspirations included retiring as a principal.
“Never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d be sitting in this chair,” the newly-named superintendent of schools for PAISD said on Thursday, in front of a packed board room that included wife Penny, 16-year-old daughter Imani, a junior at Memorial High School, the Port Arthur chapters of the Omega Psi Phi fraternity and Delta Sigma Theta sorority, and various other friends and family members.
Porterie was officially inducted as superintendent at Thursday’s special meeting of the PAISD board of trustees, three weeks after being named the lone finalist on Sept. 24. A Port Arthur native and 1983 graduate of Bishop Byrne High School, Porterie began his career as a teacher at PAISD’s alternative campus. He would later become an assistant principal and then principal before assuming the role of deputy superintendent under former superintendent Johnny Brown, who resigned on June 30.
“As soon as Dr. Brown resigned, I got calls from people in the community — ‘Dr. Porterie’s the one,’” board president Lloyd Marie Johnson said at the meeting.
Johnson first encountered Porterie when he was a teacher at Franklin Elementary. Seventeen years later, she said, little has changed.
“His enthusiasm is the same,” Johnson said. “I still see that spark.”
Porterie said he has always had a strong support system, and along with the community, he hopes to show that same support to the students.
“I’ve been supported since I could understand what support means,” Porterie said. “Now I ask the entire community to come together for the 9,200 children we serve each day. I want our district to flourish.”
Although Porterie’s life goals did not initially include sitting in the superintendent’s chair at PAISD, now that he is there, he is in it for the long haul.
“We are in for a ride,” Porterie said. “The board is going to have to throw me out.”