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Snyder named this year’s ICC Outstanding Alumnus

By: Mike Gavin
Published: May 16, 2024

SPINDALE (May 11, 2024) — Mark Snyder, an assistant principal at East Rutherford Middle School, was named Isothermal Community College’s 2024 Outstanding Alumnus at the graduation ceremony this past weekend. 

The award was presented by Dr. Thad Harrill, the college’s chief development officer. 

Harrill said Snyder, a Rutherford County native, attended Forest City Elementary, Dunbar Elementary, Cool Springs, and East Rutherford High School.

“College wasn’t in his plans initially after graduating because he wasn’t interested in school when he was required to attend,” said Harrill. “After working for a while, he decided to check out college and applied to Isothermal. Once enrolled, he found himself enjoying school for the first time and started to apply himself to his studies wholeheartedly. After completing his core courses at ICC, he transferred to Appalachian State University, where he decided to use his gift of helping people by becoming a social worker.”

Once Snyder completed his studies at Appalachian, he was hired as the first-ever school social worker for Rutherford County Schools. He worked within the home, school, and community setting to resolve problems that interfere with students’ adjustment to school, achievement, and/or attendance.

Later, Snyder decided to further his education and obtain his Master of Executive Leadership Studies at Gardner-Webb University so he could help students in a different way. Since then, he has worked as an assistant principal at RS Middle, Forest City/Dunbar, and is currently at East Middle.

“Mark is an amazing person who goes above and beyond in everything he does,” said Brad Richardson, principal at East Middle School. “His care and dedication for the students and staff at East Middle School and everywhere he has worked is seen in his interactions with others. He sees the good in people and helps them to meet their full potential. When he sees something that needs to be done, he never hesitates to jump in and take care of it. I enjoy coming to work each day and getting to interact and problem solve with Mark. I knew he would be able to provide the support, work ethic, and attitude needed to help create a dynamic and effective learning environment at East Middle School, just as we had done at Forest City - Dunbar. I am proud to call him my friend.”

Harrill said Snyder has a long list of titles: Husband, daddy, runner, planner, coordinator, leader, and encourager. He serves on a team responsible for planning and coordinating the Leader of the Pack 5K, which is a key fundraising event to support the Backpack Food Program. This program enables kids to take home meals over the weekend for families who are experiencing financial hardship. Snyder also serves on the board for Rutherford Outdoor Coalition and has served in leadership positions at the Rutherford County Juvenile Crime Prevention Council.

Snyder is also part of a group called “Loves to Suffer,” which does the Black Mountain Monster Run, where he has run 65 miles twice. 

“I mention his running on purpose, as I believe this reveals a bit more about who Mark is,” said Harrill. “What he is demonstrating through his running is that he is willing to do uncommon things. He is willing to sacrifice, prepare, and, yes, even suffer to accomplish his running goals. This, no doubt, shows him and others that just about anything is possible if you have enough grit to go get it. My guess is that Mark has learned a great deal during those long runs, which has made him a better servant of his employees, students, and family.”

Snyder is married with two children. His wife, Kimberly, is a Human Services Technologies instructor at Isothermal who won last year’s Robert Wendell Eaves Distinguished Teaching Award.

Past recipients of the Outstanding Alumnus Award include Philip Bailey, Leon Godlock, Robin Lattimore, Katlin Wright Mitchell, Robin Ensley, Barbara Callahan, Mark Crowe, Sarah Kilgo, Aaron Vassey, Alan Carver, and John Higgins.