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Counselor Spotlight: Mark Grier

Meet Mark Grier, College and Career Counselor at Corcoran High School

Mark Grier headshot

With a passion for guiding students toward their futures, Mark Grier is in his 26th year as a school counselor and his second year as a college and career counselor at Corcoran High School. Mark’s journey into school counseling began after earning his BS in Economics and Management Science from SUNY Cortland. He initially worked with adolescents in group homes and detention centers, which inspired him to pursue graduate studies in school counseling at the University at Buffalo.

At Corcoran High School, Mark and his team employ various strategies to help students thrive academically and plan for their futures. “We visit classrooms to discuss graduation requirements and the opportunities students have after high school. There’s a direct correlation between attendance and student performance, so conversations with students and parents about attendance are crucial,” he explains.

Mark and his colleagues spend considerable time in classrooms and in one-on-one meetings with students to guide them through graduation requirements, Say Yes Syracuse, and their college and career platform, Schoolinks. They collaborate with numerous outside agencies, such as Liberty Partnerships Program, On Point for College, and the North Side Learning Center, to provide students with additional support and resources.

One of the standout events organized by Mark’s team is Career Day, which saw over 20 local companies, city agencies, and unions participating. “Our Career Day was open to all students, rotating all grade levels through. It’s an excellent opportunity for students to explore various career paths,” Mark notes.

Mark highlights the vital role that Say Yes Syracuse plays in motivating students and opening doors for them. “When we go into classes and talk about Say Yes, we always show a slide on tuition costs and how Say Yes helps,” he says. This initiative significantly reduces the financial barriers to higher education, making college more accessible to students.

The most rewarding part of Mark’s job is seeing the joy and relief on students’ faces when they receive college acceptance letters, job offers, or trade school admissions. “It’s incredibly fulfilling when a student gets accepted into a college, trade school, or is offered employment that they did not expect,” he shares.

Mark emphasizes the importance of parental involvement in their children’s transition from high school to the next stage of their lives. “Communication is vital. Parents and their children must be on the same page and supportive of each other. Parents need to be active participants in their children’s decision-making and help with the necessary paperwork,” he advises.

Guiding students through the college application process is a significant aspect of Mark’s role. He encourages students to apply to a range of schools, including reach, target, and safety schools, and spends substantial time assisting them with applications and essays. “After the college application process is finished, we then help students with the financial aid process. Luckily, we have outside agencies that will come into Corcoran and help with this process,” Mark adds.

When it comes to scholarships, Mark and his team actively seek out opportunities and notify students through announcements and postings on Schoolinks. For specific scholarships, they even search out individual students and involve classroom teachers to ensure the right candidates are aware and apply.

Mark Grier’s dedication and comprehensive approach to counseling at Corcoran High School exemplify the positive impact school counselors can have on students’ academic and personal lives. His commitment to their success is a cornerstone of the supportive and enriching environment at Corcoran High School.