2019 Campus Assistant Principal Ambassador Fellow
Assistant Principal, Western Center Academy
Bio/Overview: Horton is the Assistant Principal of the Western Center Academy, a National Blue Ribbon STEM-focused charter school in Hemet, CA. Horton received his degree in Physics from San Diego State University and went on to teach high school science for 12 years before transitioning to administration. He is the author of two science activity books, Take Home Chemistry and Take Home Physics and is preparing a leadership book with the working title, Excellence: Every Classroom, Every Lesson, Every Day (A Leadership Fable) due out in February of 2020. Michael plays an active role in the science community from mentoring FIRST robotics teams, advising science fair students, presenting at STEM conferences, and leading STEM clubs.
Educational Values/Philosophy: Michael believes that improving science literacy nationwide is crucial to the success of our nation. Part of this mission includes increasing diversity in STEM careers. To assist in this goal, Horton presented at TEDx and hosted a podcast about science misconceptions for several years. Horton believes strongly in the value of science fair projects. As a science degree holder, Horton acknowledges that his work in science fair as a student is the only true open-ended inquiry work he has ever done in science and encourages all students to complete at least one project. Michael is proud of how his passion for science has influenced his daughter’s science achievements. She has traveled to 6 states; toured the White House; won numerous awards; and met astronauts, former President Obama, and Nobel Prize winners as a result of her science fair projects, culminating in a special award at the International Science and Engineering Fair. In his work with AVID, Michael became passionate about assisting underrepresented students in getting accepted to, financing, and completing a college education and this has influenced his current work where students complete numerous dual enrollment, Advanced Placement, and concurrent enrollment college-level courses before graduation.
Leadership Experience: Michael spent more than 2 years as the Science Coordinator for the Orange County Department of Education where he trained STEM teachers, wrote grants, and built partnerships with local educational entities. He then became Science Coordinator at the Riverside County Office of Education where he created events such as the “College Readiness for All Conference,” “District Science Leadership Network,” and the “Science Fair Expo.” Michael then became Administrator for AVID in the Riverside, Inyo, Mono and San Bernardino Counties (RIMS) region where the data suggests that AVID is most deeply engrained with highest outcome measures in the world. Michael coached AVID schools, trained AVID teachers and tutors, analyzed AVID data, and hosted the RIMS AVID podcast and twitter feeds. Michael has presented at Association for California School Administrators (ACSA) Leadership Academies and is the host of a blog entitled “Motivational School Leadership.”
Education: Michael received his bachelor’s degree in Physics at San Diego State University where he continued on to receive his single subject teaching credential. Michael received his master’s degree in Educational Administration from University of Phoenix and passed the California Preliminary Administrative Credential Examination to obtain his California Administrative Credential. Michael continues his informal education through Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) in topics such as Arduino Programming, CS50X, Data Science, Inclusive Leadership, Astrophysics, and Innovation in Schools.
Affiliations: National Consortium of Specialized STEM Schools, California Charter Schools Association
Areas of Interest:
- Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM)
- Educational Data and Research
- School Leadership
- College and Career Readiness
- Innovation in Schools