Biography Project Installments

Table of Contents
Mike Kirst speaking at the 2018 AERA Annual Meeting

20th Installment: Education Reforms That Stick — ‘Kirstian’ Lessons

In this installment, we distill the lessons from Mike’s life and his life’s work thus far. We hear why Mike is such an effective reformer — from Governor Brown, policy experts, journalists, and Mike himself.

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19th Installment: The Uncommon Academic as an Octogenarian

This installment covers only the first three years of Mike’s self-declared “Octogenarian Era” before the book version of this biography goes to press later in 2022.

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Mike, flanked by fellow members of OECD review panel. Photo from the Hong Kong Standard, March 30, 1982 archived at the Hoover Institution.

18th Installment: Mike on the International Stage

Mike recently offered us a new peek into how his international work over the years has helped shape his fundamental beliefs about what is needed for education reforms that work and stick in this country.

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Mike Kirst Biography Project The California Way banner

17th Installment: Mike Kirst and Jerry Brown: Act II and Beyond (2011-2019)

In this installment, we explore Mike’s research, publications, and policy-making activities that illustrate his influence during the years 2011-2019, a time Mike calls his “Jerry Brown Redux” Era as he served again as the President of the California State Board of Education for Governor Jerry Brown.

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16th Installment: Mike’s ‘Interregnum Years’: Part II: 2000-2010

During this time, Mike expanded his academic interests, pursuits, writing, and influence in what he calls his “K-16” years. The K-16 years foster Mike’s passion for what he calls the “colleges for forgotten Americans” when he concludes, “I’m not going to wring my hands about who doesn’t get into Stanford or Vanderbilt or something.”

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The Prince Book Cover

15th Installment: Mike’s ‘Interregnum Years’: Part I: 1982-2000

This installment brings to life the years 1982 to 2000 for Mike, starting with him co-founding the multi-university-based think-tank, Policy Analysis for California  Education, PACE, using new and rarely seen recordings and a “follow-the-publication” path approach.

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Jerry Brown Secretary of State

14th Installment: Mike Kirst and Jerry Brown: Act 1

We focus on how these two leaders, Mike Kirst and Jerry Brown, forged their relationship over more than a half-century of policy advances, false starts, failures, and accomplishments.

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Stanford University Students and Bikes

13th Installment: The “Accidental Professor” Era Commences

Nine years after Mike had retired from serving as a professor at Stanford University and had transitioned to Emeritus status, Mike reflects on his nearly half-century-long professional career. From audio clips to a detailed account of his transition, you will learn about his move from Washington, DC to Stanford.

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12th Installment: “The Wendy Factor” Connecting Gardner to Kirst

Listen to rarely and never-before-heard interviews with Mike and his wife Wendy as well as related research and photos. This installment feature treats how the relationship between John Gardner and Mike Kirst developed and how a combination of circumstances, including Wendy’s role, in creating reforms that stick.

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GSE Centennial

Sneak Preview: How John Gardner Became “Kind of a Father Figure”

In this sneak preview, you’ll hear in this excerpt of an audio clip in which Mike reveals Wendy’s previously working for Gardner in D.C. and becoming friends with his wife Aida are what made the two couples “really gel.”

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"When Mike came to WestEd yesterday to discuss the math achievement gap in CA, I re-listened to Installment 3. Great stuff! Congratulations!"

Glen Harvey, Chief Executive Officer, WestEd (San Francisco, CA)