About Mike Sissel

Family PicMike is first and foremost a husband to his beautiful wife Ruth and a father to his precious daughters, Emerson and Ivy. They serve as the foundation for his tremendous passion for youth leadership development.

Shortly after graduating from Oregon State University, Mike chose to follow his wallet, not his heart, in search of the illustrious high paying job, complete with a corner office and city views. After two years as an Underwriter for a regional insurance company, his passion for working with kids became irrepressible. He subsequently returned to school to receive his Master’s in Education and thus began his path toward changing young people’s lives. From the moment he entered the classroom as a 4th/5th grade teacher, he sought to infuse “real life” into his instruction and his students always received a daily dose of personal growth in one form or another.

In 2007, Mike was chosen as one of 150 teachers from across the country to train with Erin Gruwell, whose story was depicted in the feature film Freedom Writers. After spending a week in Long Beach, California immersed in the Freedom Writer methodology, he vowed to make an even bigger difference; one that would extend well beyond the confines of his classroom. This spark for change would soon be realized.

After ten years in the classroom, Mike fulfilled his dream in 2009 by launching a dynamic youth leadership company, which quickly became a key provider of leadership development for schools and families throughout Arizona. With a firm understanding of the social and emotional needs of young people, Mike has developed an innovative leadership curriculum that can be administered in a variety of settings.  To date, Mike has shared this powerful curriculum with thousands of youth and is grateful for the opportunity to impact so many lives.