Montessori and the Entrepreneurial Mindset

Michael Strong, Head of School/Founder of the Academy of Thought and Industry

  • Thursday June 7

  • 6:30PM–8:30PM

  • Guidepost Montessori at Foothill Ranch

Thirty years ago, careers looked very different than they do today. Just a few decades ago, it was common practice to work in a single industry, often for a single company, for one's entire career, before retiring on a comfortable company pension. Today, this kind of career arc is almost unheard of. Entire industries rise and fall over the course of a decade. Companies grow, shrink, or go out of existence entirely in the blink of an eye. It is increasingly recognized that to prepare themselves for success in the modern world, children do well to develop at least some elements of the mindset associated with entrepreneurship. This is the idea that young adults will need to be prepared to totally change careers, perhaps more than once, to learn completely new skills, or even to start a new business completely from scratch and make it into a success. In this talk, Michael Strong, a prolific author and speaker who has done extensive work both in education and entrepreneurship over the course of his own thirty-year career, talks about the ways in which a Montessori approach to education is the best means of instilling an entrepreneurial mindset in children.


About Michael Strong

Michael Strong is one of the most experienced designers of highly successful innovative school programs in the U.S. His projects include Montessori secondary school program design at The Judson Montessori School (San Antonio), The Emerson School (Palo Alto), and Hacienda School (Pleasanton). He also created The Winston Academy, where middle school students passed AP exams. Another of Michael’s projects, Moreno Valley High School, a Paideia charter high school, was ranked the 36th-best public high school in the U.S. by Newsweek in its 3rd year of operation, and continued to outperform other New Mexico high schools thereafter. More recently he co-founded KoSchool in Austin, Texas, which combines his high-performance approach to AP coursework and SAT score gains with a focus on entrepreneurial and creative projects. ATI began as a “next generation” version of the stellar program at KoSchool.

Michael was educated at Harvard, St. John's College, and the University of Chicago, where his dissertation advisor was Nobel laureate economist Gary Becker, under whom Michael wrote on “Ideas and Culture as Human Capital.” He is the author of The Habit of Thought: From Socratic Seminars to Socratic Practice, which was endorsed by brain-based learning experts Geoffrey Caine and Renate Nummela Caine, MacArthur “Genius” Award-winning educator Deborah Meier, authentic assessment expert Grant Wiggins, and 1994 National Teacher of the Year Elaine Griffin, who cites Michael as a mentor.

He is the lead author of Be the Solution: How Entrepreneurs and Conscious Capitalists Can Solve All the World's Problems, co-authored with John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market, Mohammad Yunus, founder of Grameen Bank and Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Hernando de Soto, author of The Mystery of Capitalism, and others. Michael has published in academic journals (Economic Affairs, Critical Review, Journal of Business Ethics , etc.), as well as in publications reaching a broader audience (HuffPo, RealClearPolitics, Policy Innovations, Carnegie Ethics, etc.). He has consulted for hundreds of schools and has spoken at Harvard, Columbia, MIT, Dartmouth, Cornell, the University of Chicago, and dozens of other universities as well as at conferences around the world. Additionally, Michael is a co-founder of Conscious Capitalism, Peace through Commerce, the Startup Cities Institute, and Radical Social Entrepreneurs.

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