Master of Arts in Teaching, 1999
School of Education
May 1, 2014
“Learning is a journey that is ongoing.”
Michael Ciecek currently serves as Assistant Principal of Curriculum & Guidance at El Toro High School in Lake Forest, California.
Mike has been involved in public education for 15 years as a teacher, activities director, and school administrator.
He began his career in public education at University High School in Irvine teaching Global Perspectives where he advised the Model United Nations program.
In 2000, Mike joined the Orange County School of the Arts (OCSA) in Santa Ana where he taught 8th grade US History, 11th Grade US History, and Advanced Placement United States History. In those first few years of OCSA, Mike also coached swimming at Edison High School in Huntington Beach.
Since 2003, Mike has been serving in administrative capacities, first as the Director of Student Activities, then as an Assistant Principal at OCSA from 2006 – 2013 before moving into the curriculum and guidance role at El Toro High School earlier this school year.
While an assistant principal, Mike has overseen master scheduling, college advising, student intervention and support, behavior management, facilities, emergency procedures, WASC visits in 2004 and 2010 which resulted in full six-year clear accreditations, three California Distinguished School Awards in 2005, 2009, and 2013, and a National Blue Ribbon Award in 2006.
Over the past year, he has had multiple opportunities to work with UC Irvine student teachers while lecturing in the ED305 class for creating effective learning environments in the classroom and more recently during the UCI School of Education Alumni Day (April 12, 2014) where he gave a presentation on technology literacy for teachers and students in today’s classrooms. Mike also participates in the Saddleback College High School Partnership Council, and the Orange County Department of Education’s Institute on Leadership Development Advisory Council.
I remember the moment I realized that I wanted to become an educator: I was walking across campus at UC San Diego during the first finals week of my career there. My thoughts turned to what my favorite subjects were in high school when all of a sudden, the connections and the path were clear to me: my favorite class was AP (Advanced Placement) U.S. History because the teacher was passionate about her subject matter, and made it all come alive for me. I wanted to be able to do that for others. My direction was clear for the remainder of my college years and the courses I enrolled led me toward the position I hold now.
Looking back, I cannot pinpoint a trigger that caused all the thought in that moment, but it was one of my most significant moments of clarity, and I have never regretted the choices I made, or the path I walked down on that day. Learning is a journey that is ongoing. If someone says that learning has a finite start and finish, then that individual needs to reestablish the very reason they entered education in the first place.
Mike holds a bachelor’s degree in History and minor degrees in Theater and Teacher Education from the University of California, San Diego. After UCSD, he received his teaching credential from University of California, Irvine where he worked with Bruce Baron. Mike also possesses a master’s degree in Educational Administration from Pepperdine University. Mike’s wife teaches 4th grade in Tustin, where they also live with their two sons.