Get to Know the Spanish Institute: Mark Ray


Mark Ray, Executive Director

      Mark manages the daily operation of the school and works closely with the school president to execute the long-term strategic growth and overall quality of the school, along with its mission and vision. He is also responsible for enrollment, outreach, and coordination of all Spanish Institute schools and programs. This includes the development and implementation of school projects and the oversight of attaining and maintaining the academic programs and standards. Mark graduated from the University of Colorado Boulder with a degree in Spanish language and literature with a certificate in applied business. In his time at CU Mark founded the CU Boulder Spanish Club, the first Spanish club at the university. Mark is originally from Upstate New York, but has lived in Colorado for almost a decade. Mark has traveled to several Spanish-speaking countries and studied abroad in Costa Rica. When Mark isn’t too busy at the Spanish Institute or off on a language and culture-fueled adventure, he enjoys spending time outdoors with his wife and two dogs. Mark also spends his time playing sports, listening to music, and attending local Spanish conversation groups.

 Where are you from?

Hamilton, NY (Upstate/ Central NY)

Who was most influential person to you as a child?

My brother. He was always inspiring me to be better and never give up on anything until you’re personally satisfied with the work you’ve done.

Did you have any nicknames?

Mr. Mark

What do you miss most about home?

The pizza!

What was your worst job?

Separating mixed recycling at the recycling center.

What was your best job?

I’m currently working it!

What is your definition of happiness? Happiness to me is being around friends and family as well as being a part of an inclusive and forward thinking community.

What accomplishments are you most proud of?

I’m most proud of my BA from the University of Colorado Boulder and advancement to executive director at the Spanish Institute.

Do you have any pets?

I have two dogs named Guinness (6) and Stella (1).

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I like to stay busy by being outside hiking or lounging and I am constantly finding new house projects to work on.

What is your favorite:


NY style pizza


Depends on my mood. I would probably choose Eddie Vedder from Pearl Jam to be the lead singer of my band.


Tough call, but I would have to say Shawshank Redemption. I mean come on, who doesn’t like that move?


Being a Spanish language and literature major in university, this is a difficult question. I’ll just answer with my favorite author (at the moment): Jorge Luis Borges.

What inspired you to teach?

While I don’t often teach anymore, I have always had a passion for education and learning. There is no better feeling as a teacher than watching a student have that “Aha!” moment. Why do you think it is important for people to learn Spanish? The obvious answer is because is it one of the most spoken and fast growing languages in the world. The honest answer is that you have no idea what you’re missing when you interact with a culture and you don’t speak the language. It’s still possible to appreciate another culture without knowing the language, but not on the same level.

What do you like about working with the Spanish Institute?

My favorite part about working at the Spanish Institute is the community. SI works with such a diverse population and collaborates with several organizations in Boulder that combine to create such a rich and wonderful community.