My name is Mike Isenberg, and I am originally from the sunny suburban confines of Thousand Oaks, CA. It was in this town where I scored my first soccer goal, had my first kiss, and broke my first curfew. After graduating high school from TO High, I knew I had to get away, so I decided on UC Santa Barbara for college, which was a whopping one hour drive north. At UCSB, I began as a business-economics major, but became quickly bored and switched to a much more useful major, political science. After graduating with a bachelors in 2003, I decided to use the skills I learned in college, and I moved to London to become a bartender. This move started a trend in which I moved city to city, country to country, for the next five years. In 2005, after a year stint in New Orleans, I volunteered in Thailand after the tsunami, teaching English in one of the affected villages. It was here where I met my wife Karin, and after a year in Thailand, we moved to Cambodia where we worked as project managers for Openmind Projects. In 2008, we moved to Sweden, where Karin is from, and I completed a masters degree in International Development and Management from Lund University. I spent part of the second year of my masters as an intern for the Planned Parenthood Association of Zambia, where I worked with kids on issues of sexual and reproductive health, and conducted research for a thesis on parent-teen sexual communication. It was through all these experiences that I fell in love with teaching, weather it was teaching a White Stripes Song to junior monks in Thailand or debating abstinence vs condom use with catholic school girls in Zambia. I could see first hand how education is the the key to a countries development, and I decided that I wanted to be a greater part of it in my own country.
I have been pretty into technology since my parents got me my first computer when I was about 8. It was an old IBM with DOS as its operating system. The good ol days. In school, we practiced on Apple 2e's, playing countless hours of Oregon Trail. When I was around 13, this new thing called the internet started to appear, and I remember tying up my parents phone lines for hours as my friends and I went through countless of those 100 hour free AOL cd's. Later on in high school, we started realizing the possibilities of the internet, with things like email, IM, Napster, and countless other time wasting delights. Today the internet make my life a lot easier. I can speak to my wife face to face, even though she is 6000 miles away. While in Sweden, I could still watch live the Lakers beat the Celtics in game 7. I have also seen how dependent I am on technology through traveling to places where they are years behind, technologically speaking. One could imagine my frustration waiting 20 minutes for a page to load at my office in Zambia while I am just trying to check my email. I think about this every time I hear someone complaining that their iphone is taking five seconds longer then it should to download an entire album. We are pretty lucky to live where we do.
After reading the mission statement, the part that interested me the most was the emphasis on educational equity. I believe that it is vital that every kid, no matter their socio economic background, has the same opportunities as any other kid. This is why I am a big believer in the public school system, and one of the reasons why I decided to pursue my teaching credential. I have been to too many countries where only kids with money were able to succeed in school, and I hope that the US does not eventually travel down that path.