Our Founder

Michael Strong

Michael Strong is one of the most experienced designers of highly successful innovative school programs in the United States. His projects include a public school program in which minority female students gained four year’s worth of critical thinking gains in four months (on the Watson-Glaser, scores on which correlate with IQ scores). He later went into 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, making it the most academically advanced school in the country at the time. Another of Michael’s projects, Moreno Valley High School, a Paideia charter high school, was ranked the 36th-best U.S. public high school by Newsweek in its third year of operation and continued to outperform other New Mexico high schools thereafter. More recently he co-founded KoSchool in Austin, Texas, which combined his high-performance approach to AP coursework and SAT score gains with a focus on entrepreneurial and creative projects. KoSchool, in turn, became the original model for The Academy of Thought and Industry, the high school model for the largest Montessori network in the United States.

Students from Michael’s schools have been admitted to Harvard, Stanford, Georgetown, Smith, Bard, Bennington, McGill, UT-Austin, University of Colorado, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Parsons School of Design, Quest, St. John’s and many dozens of other post-secondary institutions.

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, Eva Brann, former dean of St. John’s College, 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), 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, and Radical Social Entrepreneurs.

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