Director (Teaching Head of School)

Academy of Thought & Industry - San Francisco, CA

Do you want more for teens than the traditional high school rat race? Are you passionate about helping them discover their individual strengths and passions? Do you believe an exceptional high school education can—and should—prepare each student to live a meaningful life? If so, Academy of Thought and Industry might be for you!

About Us

The Academy of Thought and Industry ( ) is a cutting-edge, innovative new high school model that helps teens excel on their own terms. ATI combines the knowledge and reasoning ideals of a liberal arts education, with the real-world experiential opportunities that should be afforded to today's urban teenagers. It's a blend of the best of a classical approach to education with the best of what alternative and experiential education have to offer.

Through a deep knowledge curriculum embedded in a framework of self-directed learning, our carefully crafted program offers an integrated approach to achieving personal, academic, and professional excellence. Together with our students, we identify and support individualized development plans that help each student cultivate their passions, engage in meaningful work, and acquire the requisite content, skills, and experiences necessary for the life he or she wants to live. In addition, ATI offers a strong college preparatory curriculum, including a systematic approach to standardized testing knowhow and an integrated approach to AP courses.

Our program is built upon two pillars:
  • A Socratic humanities core in which students discuss, digest, and debate the core competing ideas that shape our world
  • A focus on real projects, with mentoring, community outreach, and a school schedule that enables students to spend substantial time off-campus pursuing entrepreneurial and community work
ATI currently has 2 campuses—one in Austin, Texas, and one here in San Francisco, California – with a third campus opening in Manhattan in 2019. Come join our ATI network and be part of our San Francisco team!

About You

Our ideal candidate is a passionate, ambitious professional who cares deeply about adolescent education. We're looking for an innovative, intellectual mentor for our students and leader for our staff. Because we started our program in Fall 2018 with a limited number of students, our ideal candidate for this role is someone who is comfortable with both teaching (either broad humanities or math/science) and administration. We're about as far away from a conventional high school as you can imagine, so if you're frustrated with traditional education today and are seeking to be a part of building a better solution, ATI is the place for you!

We're looking for someone who has:
  • 2+ years experience as a school leader, ideally with adolescents in an independent school setting
  • A deep understanding of, love for, and natural connection with the adolescent age group
  • A strong desire to foster autonomy and individuality of students through personalized instruction and assessment
  • Expertise in the area of humanities or math/science (see our teacher job ads to learn more)
  • An insatiable intellectual curiosity
  • Exceptional written and verbal communication skills
  • An entrepreneurial mindset, eagerness to solve problems, and an excitement for being a part of our ATI network in San Francisco!
If you have experience with AP coursework, SAT content and prep, and are knowledgeable and practiced in the Socratic method, let us know in your cover letter!

Our Founder

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. View his TEDx talks here for a sampling: VIDEO 1 ( ) | VIDEO 2 ( ) | VIDEO 3 ( )

Additionally, Michael is a co-founder of Conscious Capitalism, Peace through Commerce, the Startup Cities Institute, and Radical Social Entrepreneurs.

Graduates of Michael's schools have matriculated and succeeded at dozens of universities, including Stanford, Harvard, Parsons School of Design, Reed, St. John's College, Hebrew University, Southwestern University, Texas Christian University, and many others. They have also launched successful businesses, including in areas of software, aquaponics, and concert promotions.

Our Location

ATI occupies a four-story former residence on Jackson St. in beautiful Pacific Heights, across the street at Alta Plaza Park. Our campus provides an ideal setting for a rich urban education. The school is easily accessed by city bus lines, and the nearby park offers great opportunities for regular physical activity. The newly remodeled facility is designed to capture the feel of a state-of-the-art co-working space, with truly spectacular 360 views of the city, the Bay, and the Pacific Ocean. ATI's campus combines the comfort of a family home with the professional of a well-managed entrepreneurial incubator—the sort of space that any adult would be delighted to work in!

If you're as excited about this program as we are, please apply below and include a detailed cover letter explaining your qualifications and interest in this role.