Who We Are
Prior to his association with Focused Leadership Solutions, Mike worked with Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning (McREL) from 2002 to 2007, where he co-authored Success in Sight, a research based school improvement framework. He also did extensive work in the field, providing services to urban and rural school districts, state departments of education and diverse groups of school leaders from around the United States. His particular areas of expertise include systemic school reform, school leadership, and the development of intentional educational communities.
Before joining McREL, Mike served as principal of Columbine Elementary School, a National School of Character, where he led systemic change initiatives in the areas of academics, special education, and personal and social responsibility.
Mike believes in the power of honest conversations and strong personal relationships in the workplace and enjoys working with educators, especially teachers and principals, on the issues that are important to them. He encourages and supports leadership development in his work with Focused Leadership Solutions.
Mike divides his time between Denver and Woodland Park, Colorado, where he enjoys high altitude gardening, hiking and snowshoeing, and time with friends and family.
In Mike’s words:
“It’s always satisfying to be a member of a high performing team, and our long term work with schools and districts is very fulfilling in that sense. I find that most schools sincerely want to improve and they enjoy working with consultants who don’t arrive with a pre-set agenda. Everyone benefits from an outside point of view to encourage and support improvement.
"I provided that point of view in a project in which I worked with leadership teams over a three year period in rural and urban settings. We saw student achievement rise as we worked collaboratively to improve relationships in the school and hone our instructional skills as teachers. All of the schools improved their performance, and one school moved from an unsatisfactory rating to being designated a National Blue Ribbon School.
"We know that what works in one place won’t necessarily work in another, so our first step is always to help the school or district take an honest look at where they are and how they think they can improve. Then, with encouragement and guidance, the school leadership team takes it from there. FLS consultants prefer to work as coaches and facilitators rather than content experts. We believe that’s one of the keys to effective school improvement work.”