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For all who care about
America's schools

Michael Kirst:
The Uncommon Academic

Videos | Audio Recordings | Photos

Video clip courtesy of EdSource for its first "Education Champion Award in 2017"


All who care about our children’s schools can enjoy and learn from this biography of Michael Kirst, one of the major influences in American education in the past 50 years.

Michael Kirst: The Uncommon Academic incorporates engaging stories, video clips, and audio recordings from an array of top government officials, researchers, commentators, colleagues, family, and top government officials to portray Mike’s origins, paths, influences, and accomplishments in his life and career.

A Quote From Mike Kirst About the Project

"You should think about how to feature your methodology per se as another project for you. The focus would be on how to do this sort of thing about someone other than me. It brings history alive in novel ways to me."


An Intro To the Installments

A few installments to get you started. The first, the eighth, and the most recent installment.

First Installment: "Conversations With and About Mike," Starting with Governor Brown

This installment includes recorded insights about Mike from an interview I had with Jerry Brown during his last Friday in office, January 4, 2019.

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Eighth Installment: Who Controls Our Schools? The Genesis

This question is so relevant in this pandemic era. This installment explores how early in his studies, Mike began to formulate this question and eventually answer it in a way that demonstrates its complexities. Read More >

Sneak Preview of “The John Gardner Factor” in a “President-Elect Biden” Era

This sneak preview of Installment 11 will uncover significant new insights into an educational reformer most Americans know little to nothing about.

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Susan Schofield, Oral Historian at the Stanford Historical Society, Palo Alto, CA

"I’m enjoying all of these installments and learning a lot about Mike Kirst’s work and influence."

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About the Project

The purpose of this biography project is to make a fascinating man’s life and accomplishments come alive. Dr. Michael W. Kirst, while recognized in influential academic and policy circles, is generally unknown to those most actively engaged in American education in the trenches of the nation’s classrooms and local boardrooms, including teachers, principals, and school district leaders.

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About the Author

Dick Jung first met Dr. Michael W. Kirst four decades ago. Mike, then Professor in the Schools of Education and Business, was completing his first year as President of California’s State Board of Education. During Jerry Brown’s first term as Governor, as Mike tacked between Palo Alto and Sacramento, Dick served as the Teaching Assistant for Mike’s Stanford “Politics of Education” course.

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About the Team

Dick is supported by a project team of content, digital research, and online experts that includes a senior education policy reviewer, a digital archives manager, and a website and multimedia design coordinator.

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