Curious. Innovative. Independent. The researchers at the Kingsbury Center have a common goal: to investigate strategies for advancing academic student growth and improving our schools. By partnering with diverse educational leaders, our team is helping to revolutionize education research with high quality data that is designed to inform, empower and make a difference.
Mike joined NWEA in 2007 as a research associate after working as a research analyst for the Oregon Department of Human Services. He has also worked as an adjunct and visiting psychology professor at Pacific University. Mike’s recent NWEA work includes extensive research and reporting to examine the effectiveness of the No Child Left Behind Act. His professional affiliations include the American Psychological Association, the American Psychological Society, Society for Research in Child Development, the American Educational Research Association, and the National Council on Measurement in Education. Mike holds a Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology from Pennsylvania State University, a M.S. in Psychology from Western Washington University, and a B.A. in Biology from Pomona College.
What do you feel is unique about NWEA and how did you come to work here?
I started at NWEA in early 2007, having worked previously in the field of clinical chemistry, then in academia, then later on doing epidemiological research in state public health. I was very excited to join the team of researchers here at NWEA because the work here is much more consistent with my personal interests and graduate training, and because it was an opportunity to do research that could have positive impact for a lot of children. But the best part about being an NWEA employee is the people I work with every day. Each of us approaches our work with a unique perspective, given our differing areas of expertise in education, measurement, psychology, sociology, and other fields. For me, the best part of my job is learning new skills, perspectives, and strategies from my colleagues, and applying them to new tasks, projects, and studies as they emerge.
What do you feel is your greatest accomplishment?
Probably my greatest accomplishment was brokering the peace treaty between Israel and Egypt when I hosted Anwar Sadat and Menachem Begin at the 1978 Camp David Accords. Oh, wait… that was Jimmy Carter. Well, I did finish the NY Times crossword puzzle once. And it wasn’t even one of the easy Monday editions, but a really hard Saturday one.
In truth, my accomplishments aren’t all that noteworthy in a public sense. I finished my doctoral dissertation, which (for me, anyway) was very hard. I still use that fact to summon resolve at difficult times (“I finished my dissertation ten years ago, so I guess I can run one more mile”). But as cheesy as it sounds, being a dad to my two girls (ages 2 and 4) is my most important accomplishment. They’re exhausting, argumentative, manipulative, and melodramatic, but picking them up from school every evening is the best part of my day. And putting them to bed a few hours later is the second best.
What are you reading right now?
My ADHD manifests itself in my habit of having several books “going” at one time. Currently I am reading “Going Clear” by Lawrence Wright, the autobiography “Miles” by Miles Davis, and “Bringing Up Bébé”, by Pamela Druckerman.
When was the last time you were out of the country?
About three years ago, my wife and I traveled to Oslo, Norway to visit her extended family there. It was fun meeting her cousins, aunts, uncles, etc., and introducing them to our one-year-old daughter. Norway is a lovely country with friendly people an interesting history. And the Norwegians really love their soccer, which was fun, because we were there during World Cup Season. Anyone visiting Oslo should see the Viking Ship Museum, the Munch Museum and the Royal Palace. And if you venture outside of Oslo, the fjords aren’t bad, either.