Michael’s interest in educational policy, educational psychology, and creative approaches to teaching and learning were piqued while studying music education at the University of Illinois. Over the next 17 years, Michael had the opportunity to develop thoughtful, compassionate, and innovative approaches and programs in urban, suburban, and rural K-12 settings in Illinois and North Carolina schools as Director of Orchestras. This broad experience gave him a unique lens into the entire K-12 landscape and the possibilities for change within public education. He also recognized a personal strength in building programs and creating rich, positive, and meaningful experiences for children. After informally studying school leadership models and programs, he earned a master’s degree in Western Carolina’s unique entrepreneurship program, which provided a foundation better suited to his interests and passion for enacting meaningful change in the lives of children. After a failed attempt to launch a summer camp, which had the fortunate byproduct of allowing him and his wife, Molly, to raise their amazing children Bridget and Oscar on 30 beautiful acres in Mills River, he began planning for what would ultimately become FernLeaf Community Charter School.
When Michael is not scratching his head about the next big project and trying to change the world one school and one child at a time, he can be found somewhere in the woods with Molly, Bridget, and Oscar.