Mike Molina's Statement of Educational Philosophy

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I believe the children are the future. Teach the well and let them lead the way. -George Benson

I sang these words with my fellow elementary school graduates back in the stone ages of the late 1980s. There, I was taught the core beliefs that have sustained me through a life of diverse professional experiences in community-benefit law, youth-centered non-profit entrepreneurship, and school leadership against a backdrop of tremendous societal shifts. My elementary school taught me what I still know decades later: every adult at a school must live out the belief that, through their teaching and caring for children, they can change the world for the better. Leading a team of people who commit to preparing young people to lead the world to the future is my highest personal and professional aspiration. This is my educational philosophy.

I believe our students can develop into independent, resilient, confident life-long learners. By developing a strong set of academic skills, grit, and a sense of purpose, students can learn to apply their learning to problem-solving rooted in real world challenges. This approach keeps education fresh, relevant, and always accessible. School leaders, educators, and parents must be teammates in helping students to develop an intellectual curiosity to last a lifetime.

I believe our teachers can achieve professional excellence and personal fulfillment in their work. My role as a school leader is to guide teachers and administrators in their professional excellence, personal development, and sense of shared purpose in empowering students as learners. My goal is to encourage and empower teachers and administrators to develop a healthy, collegial, and supportive adult culture that engages their best personal qualities and professional skills so they can be strong role models and academic guides for our students.

I believe our school must be a vibrant and inclusive environment so that students and teachers engage in a thriving garden of ideas, perspectives, backgrounds. This diversity of thought can increase educator engagement, support student academic excellence, and prepare the entire school community for today’s diverse world. I regard the journeys of artistic expression and physical activity as engines and vehicles for student enrichment that keep school fresh, exciting, and culturally responsive. Further, I know that engagement and stewardship of the natural environment can serve as a grounding force in the life of every student.

I believe our school’s sustainability and organizational focus are the foundation of this work. A learning environment must have the sustained resources and clear vision to weather the inevitable challenges of a non-profit institution. As a school leader, my goal is to root school integrity from mission to practice, while being present, active, and engaged in the daily life of the school. My constant presence and engagement will allow me to support the demonstration of our effectiveness through quantitative evidence, qualitative anecdotes, and inspiring stories that attract and maintain the support of the many stakeholders who care deeply about our mission.

Sustaining a warm, safe, dynamic, and thriving learning environment is paramount. For educators, a positive learning environment supports professional excellence, autonomy, and mastery. For students, a healthy learning environment keeps them showing up and growing into their best selves. As a school leader, I seek to inspire a shared sense of purpose, a deep sense of community, and an optimistic outlook across the spectrum of school stakeholders from teachers to students, parents to board members, and, ultimately, from institution to broader community.