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Q&A With Michael Klein

As the Director of Knowledge Sharing and Growth, Michael is responsible for overseeing the refinement, dissemination, and scaling of the Highlander Institute’s work. Michael is passionate about project-based learning, educational equity, and professional learning networks as means of empowering teachers and providing students with the skills they need to succeed. Michael was a founding teacher at High Tech High’s newest middle school in Chula Vista and worked as an elementary school teacher in Brooklyn and Harlem. In addition to teaching, Michael worked as a research assistant to Tony Wagner on his book Creating Innovators: The Making of Young People Who Will Change the World, and has experience as part of two fast-growing education technology companies supporting district leaders. Michael earned his undergraduate degree at Vassar College and his Master’s in Education at Bank Street College in New York City. He lives in Providence with his wife.

Describe the work you’ll be doing with Highlander

I will be working with the team to refine, disseminate and scale the amazing work that Highlander Institute is doing. My goal is to make sure that any district or state that wants to bring blended learning to students and teachers through programs like Fuse can do so with Highlander’s support and expertise.

What’s your background?

I’ve been an educator for my entire career. I started my career as an elementary school teacher in New York City, where I taught 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade in Brooklyn and Harlem. Through a teacher-friend, I connected with Tony Wagner and was lucky enough to work with him on his book Creating Innovators. From there, I moved across the country to be a founding teacher at High Tech High’s newest middle school in Chula Vista, CA, where I worked with an incredible team of educators, students, and families to build a project-based learning school. After High Tech High, I worked for two fast-growing education technology startup companies, where I supported district leaders across the country and internationally.

What are you most looking forward to with this new position?

I’m most looking forward to learning from all the incredible Fuse Fellows and Fuse Districts and having the ability to contribute at every level: supporting great teaching and learning in the classroom, school, district, and state!

What’s your self-professed ninja-power?

My ninja power would have to be putting theory into practice. I am definitely a theory nerd, but I believe that in education, as with the rest of life, theory needs to inform what we do in our classrooms and our lives every day.