Classroom experience

After completing my work in India as a Peace Corps Volunteer, I was hired by Elkhart Community Schools to teach social studies classes at the high school level.  Most of the students who were assigned to my classes had struggled with their studies, had very low reading capability and had seldom been asked to be active, engaged learners. I quickly learned that teaching was more than textbooks, lessons plans and tests. They quickly learned that in this class ideas were more important than facts, why was as important as what, and most important lessons are about how we treat each other and how we learn. We struggled together, me trying to figure out how to adjust what I thought was important and their running into a person who believed in their ability to learn and would not allow them to passively skate through one more class. I rewrote the material to match their levels. They started asking questions. More and more they speculated on why people do what they do, leading to discussions of their own behavior.  We both learned a lot in those years.

A few years later I entered graduate school in New York City at Teachers College Columbia University.  My goal was to combine my interests in developing nations and creating powerful, exciting schools. Through a few strange turns I ended up working in the university’s elementary laboratory school that  drew students from the neighborhood which included Harlem. It was a great experience for all of us as we were given license with new ways to teach and learn. The philosophy was that there was no one right way to teach or learn anything.

After I completed my graduate work at Columbia University I taught at four universities:  Indiana University, San Jose State, San Francisco State and DeAnza College. I was also a visiting Scholar at Stanford. My primary activities were preparing teachers to work in our country’s hardest to staff schools including teachers for migrant workers, teachers for Indian reservations, and high poverty rural schools and inner city schools. 

  • High School Teacher 1967-70 Taught World Studies, US History and Physical Education
  • Teachers Collage, Columbia University , New York City 1970-73 Teacher and Media Center Director, Agnes Russell (Laboratory School)  Instructor & Supervisor, Master of Arts in Teaching Program
  • Indiana University, Bloomington, Multicultural Educational Development Program-1973-75 Assistant Professor, taught Social Studies Methods, School Law and Ethics, Elementary Curriculum Methods Field Experiences Coordinator/ Program Evaluator for a program preparing elementary teachers to work in high poverty schools including inner cities, with migrant workers and on Native American reservations
  • Professor, San Jose State University 1975-79 Coordinator and Lead Instructor for federal Teacher Corps Project which was a joint venture of the University, Far West Laboratory and Alum Rock School  District
  • Conducted staff development workshops in 26 states to provide teachers in high poverty schools with a repertoire of teaching strategies such as work on Native American reservations of Montana and remote mountain communities of Eastern Kentucky




  • Elected to School Site Councils at Green Oaks Fundamental School and Orangevale Open K-8 School
  • Appointed to Curriculum, Instruction and Student Services Board Advisory Committee
  • Serve on the District’s Strategic Planning Team

On School Site Councils Mike participated in joint decision making panels among parents, teachers and the school principal. These committees were using as sounding boards, program generators, for assessing needs as well as meeting state requirements. Curriculum and Instruction (C&I) is a fifteen member committee appointed by school board members on two year terms which are renewable. Dr. McKibbin has been serving for eight years. C&I makes recommendations to the school board with course and textbook  approval and reviews the instructional activities, student services and parent involvement activities that are conducted.  The Committee serves as a sounding board on major initiatives such as Local Control Accountability Plan that provided supplementary funds in the recent budget cycle.




International Work

  • Worked on Rosh Hannikra Kibbutz, Israel,  general farm labor, youth recreation, 1965
  • Peace Corps Volunteer 1965-67 Tonk, Rajasthan, India     
    Taught villagers how to raise, feed, medicate chickens and market eggs     
    Built and managed a feed mill and organized a marketing cooperative     
    Organized youth activities around sports and also taught English to Hindi and Urdu speaking youth
  • Designed teacher and administrator certification system for Republic of Palau, Micronesia, 1998

Five days after completing undergraduate degree and my teaching credential work  I entered the Peace Corps.  My job was to teach Indian villages how to raise chickens.  Our efforts were successful enough that it led to developing two small businesses building a feedmill and establishing a marketing cooperative.

Parent Volunteer,  2003 to present

  • Grading papers, field trip driver, car pool helper, jogathon timer, theater set builder
  • Math and English tutor, creative writing teacher, Thomas Jefferson impersonator
  • Guest speaker of topics such as village life in India
  • Taught Second Step, anti-violence curriculum to third graders for two years
  • Arranged for letter exchange between 6th graders in Orangevale and an English medium school in India

Other Volunteer Activities

  • Big Brother/Big Sister Program In Bloomington, IN, Sunnyvale CA and Sacramento County (13 years)
  • Baseball, Basketball, and Tennis Coach
  • Baseball Umpire (off and on for 30 years)
  • Five gallon blood donor
  • Oak Park Rotary House Board of Directors- long term residence for children and their family undergoing cancer treatment
  • Stage Right Productions Advisory /board- non-profit youth theatre




Research, Development and Policy Making

  • Teacher Innovator Preparation Program, Columbia University 1971 - 1975
  • United States Teacher Corps, 1972- 1980
  • Booksend Laboratories, Assistant Director and Senior Researcher, Palo Alto CA,1979-82
  • Visiting Scholar, Stanford University, 1979-81
  • State of California, Commission on Teacher Credentialing, Staff Consultant and Administrator, 1982-2009
  • Made more than 80 presentations on education policies, research reports and studies of the effectiveness of implemented statutes and policies to this Governor appointed Commission.
  • Conducted more than 20 research studies on the effectiveness of teacher preparation methods. These were presented to the Governor and the Legislature.
  • Support team for the implementation of the California Mentor Teacher Program, 1983-86
  • Served on the development team of the Beginning Teacher Support and Assessment Program
  • Served on the Design Team and was one of the principal trainers for the California Teaching  Performance Assessment
  • Led more than 15 Advisory Boards of teachers, administrators, professors and parents  that developed state certification standards for teacher preparation programs including revisions of authorizations credential standards and performance assessments for all special education credentials.
  • Provided administrative and fiscal oversight for alternative certification programs that prepared 60,000 California teachers and funding of more than 200 million dollars to help districts meet their need for teachers in hard to staff areas such as mathematics and science, special education, high poverty schools and incarcerated youth. 
  • Testified before the California  Legislature on issues such as: preparation of teachers; developing alternative pathways to enter teaching and providing opportunities for former military to enter teaching, 

Managed Troops to Teachers –California
This program recruited and facilitated the transition of military personnel who were interested in teaching as their next career.  The motto of this program was “Proud to Serve Again.”  We were able to prepare more than a thousand former military personnel and place them in California classrooms.

California Transition to Teaching Project
Dr. McKibbin created, wrote the funding grant and provided operation and fiscal management of this project.  This project asked the question “What would it take to reduce the use of emergency permits to virtually zero in two large metropolitan school districts?"  With the cooperation of Oakland and San Diego school districts this project explored what it would take to recruit, select, prepare, support and retain teachers in positions that were formerly and routinely populated by teachers on provisional certificates.  In three years this project was able to reduce the use of Emergency Permits by ninety-five percent and develop a template for other districts in similar circumstances.


Work on Boards and Advisory Panels

Dr. Mckibbin has served on the following national and local advisory panels and boards:

  • Kappa Delta Pi Editorial Board, Indianapolis, IN
  • National  Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification Standards Board, Seattle, WA  
  • Teach for America Research and Evaluation Advisory Board, New York City
  • National Association for Alternative Certification (also served as the association’s president for 2 years)
  • National Center for Alternative Certification, Washington DC
  • Haberman Education Foundation, an international policy institute in education,  Houston TX
  • National Center to Improve Recruitment and Retention of Qualified Personnel for Children with Disabilities, Alexandria, VA
  • Served on the School Site Councils at both Green Oaks Elementary and Orangevale Open K-8 Schools
  • Member of San Juan Unified School District’s Curriculum and Standards Committee for last 6 years
  • Member of San Juan Unified Strategic Planning Team
  • Member Sacramento Valley Returned Peace Corps Volunteers and Board of Directors
  • California Teacher Corps

Dr. McKibbin was honored to be asked to serve on a number of state and national advisory boards and foundations.  They offered opportunities to provide advice based on the lessons that were learned in California as well bring back to California the lessons from other states about their successes and the pitfalls they had encountered.  These boards provided instructive information on how these boards worked and in a few cases how to be dysfunctional.