Mike Wierusz: 2014 Allen Distinguished Educator


Educator: Mike Wierusz
School/District: Northshore School District
Location: Kenmore, WA

Mike Wierusz is leading the charge to develop the next generation of sustainability leaders with an integrated curriculum that focuses on developing students’ skills via real-world projects, hands-on learning and connecting with industry. To launch his Sustainable Engineering and Design program within the Northshore School District, Mike drew upon his background as a mechanical engineer, his consulting work in informal education and his extensive global travels. He began the program at the alternative high school within the district in 2010 and this year expanded the program to a comprehensive school – Inglemoor High School. There are now more interested students than there is availability.

Students learn about sustainability issues, such as green building design and ecosystems services; business concepts such as supply and demand, and the product cycle; design thinking processes like ideation and empathy; engineering skills such as data analysis and technical writing; shop skills such as rapid prototyping; and build skills in team collaboration and communication. A key feature of all projects is that students must focus on ROI from a triple bottom line perspective: people, profit and planet.

The program functions almost like a business-design apprenticeship. Students self-start projects that matter to them, and receive guidance from teachers and industry professionals to develop something that speaks to the real world. Students are inspired to take on sustainability challenges and develop solutions to meet them with the skills they learn through the program.

View Mike Wierusz’s Video Microdocumentary | View Mike Wierusz’s DIY Guide: 53 Miles Per Burrito | view Mike Wierusz’s Roadmap on: Leveraging Industry Professionals | View Mike Wierusz’s Roadmap on: Thinking of Your Students as Teammates