Strive To Do Better Things

I had the esteem privilege to have Mike Oliver as the guest on this episode who makes a bold declaration that the quality of our life is only equal to the degree of the challenges we are willing to take on. He backs that up by taking on the challenge to recreate the entire High School experience. He is working to give students access to a community of leaders, maximizing seat time flexibility, inviting learning by inquiry and creating shared leadership among many other things. Mike teaches us that the collection of people we have in the room is the smartest aspect of our environment and not just one person. It is paramount that we create an environment of psychological safety and that we see people for who they can become, believing them into that. Celebrating our approximations each step of the way and making adjustments as needed to adapt to the needs of the learners.

Mike helps us believe that we can be a part of this educational revolution, that he describes as a civil rights movement, that students deserve to give them more of an educational experience they deserve. He goes on to teach us about Culture Bound Theory and the need to disrupt our way of thinking so we can expose ourselves to our own biases. This will open our mind to new ways of thinking and seeing the world around us. We can continue to do things the same old way and look for ways to do it better or we can begin to do better things. Listen on Apple at or on the embedded YouTube player below.

Mike Oliver is the progressive principal of Mountain View High School in Mesa, Arizona. He is passionate about teaching and learning and has taken a stand with innovation in public education. 

Mike was the founding principal of Zaharis Elementary School, recognized as one of the “25 most innovative, inspiring and coolest schools in America” and the “exemplary school for literacy development in the US” by Scholastic. 

Mike has a doctorate degree in Leadership and Innovation from Arizona State University and has committed to working alongside the Mountain View staff and community in reimagining what school can be.  He has boldly declared that Mountain View will become the premiere high school in all of America and welcomes the accountability associated with such a grand expectation. 

Mike’s priority is his faith and his family.  He is happily married to his wife, Trish, and they have four children and two grandchildren.  Mike is passionate about running, having run over 30 marathons and several ultramarathons, including a 100-mile race.   


ABC News – Team Teaching is Breaking the Mold of High School Education

Michael A. Oliver – Disrupting Culture Bound Realities: A Parent Perspective of Zaharis Elementary School 

Linda Darling-Hammond & Channa M. Cook-Harvey (2018) – Educating the Whole Child: Improving School Climate to Support Student Success

Sam Foss – The Calf Path


(YouTube version)

Walter D. Wintle – The Man Who Thinks He Can


(YouTube Version) 

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