Mr. Markus: A Multilingual Activist

Coming to us from the booming metropolis of Washington DC, our new Upper School principal, Mr. Markus, is hoping to use his love of learning, multilingualism, and political activism to invigorate our school community.


Mr. Markus has a number of tasks he wishes to complete over the next two school years, but he still needs some time to feel out how best to do it at ZIS. He says that he’ll dedicate the next three months to learn about the school and meet the community. He says that he and his team will try to add student and faculty views into this process and “work together to build on the areas that make our school so special and find joint approaches to solve puzzles that are raised in these conversations.” 


However, our new principal emphasises that no matter the changes, he wants to have one goal behind all of them: making our Upper School as inclusive and respectful as possible. He believes that integrity should be our focus throughout our school careers and is now looking into ways to integrate the trait into our four mission pillars. Mr. Markus believes that the biggest changes we can make at ZIS aren’t through changing the campus physically, but through changing our mentalities towards learning.  


Although Mr. Markus has spent all of his career in the States, he’s also a bit of an international kid in spirit. Apart from having taught Russian and English, Mr. Markus also dabbled in some Spanish, Greek, Italian, German, Norwegian and even a bit of Georgian to make his global travels easier. He says he loves his multilingualism: “I get to have conversations with students in the hallway using their mother tongue, I think it brings us closer as a community”. 


Along with his fascination with languages, Mr. Markus also carries a history of political activism: “These passions have led me to have tea with Northern Irish paramilitaries, meet secretly with samizdat (self-published) activists in the Soviet Union and take my first principal job in the lowest performing middle school in Washington DC”. He’s especially honoured by his work in former schools when he spent months speaking with board members and engaging students to get their school back on track with proper funding. Though proud of his achievements, he sees no need to implement his skills in our school as he believes our students and staff wouldn’t stand for anything less than what they deserve.


With skills and experiences learned from working in another capital of the world, Mr. Markus is well prepared to join us in the upcoming years of our school journeys. His specific mindset of continuous learning and leading by example will positively impact us as a society and guide us to an even more productive future. With a highly educated, caring new member of our community, the ZIS staff and students have a lot to be excited about with Mr. Markus as our new Upper School principal.

– Ruby Nwose ’22

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