#20 Michael Boll – Redefining the special needs landscape
Michael is an Apple Distinguished Educator, entrepreneur, podcaster, and technology coach. He recently co-founded Innovative Professional Development, an online PD platform, with the mission of facilitating outstanding professional growth opportunities for all teachers. Michael has a teenage son with profound autism and is keenly interested in the special needs community and its population of diverse learners. This interest led Michael and his wife, Lori, to open an innovative school in Shanghai for their son, called ShineAcademy.asia.
We had to start something—and we couldn’t let it fail.
How he got to China
Michael and his wife are international educators and have traveled the gamut. They landed in Shanghai 8 years ago and have been on a wild adventure ever since.
How he got started
His son really spurred Michael to take the entrepreneurial leap and develop a school that would really benefit him and other learners like him.
Going through four head of schools in the first few months…
“Ummm… laying the carpet a few hours before we opened our doors…” Talk about stressful! Way to pull through! Other than that, moving from ‘start-up’ to ‘stable’ is a massive victory to celebrate!
Lessons learned along the way
Find the right partners and the right staff. As ‘laowai’ we don’t always understand how things work so you need to surround yourself with others who do.
Shine Academy has partnered with The Nest and will have enough space to open their doors to typically developing kids. Integration is the key and no matter if the child is special needs of typically developing, this new school can uniquely tailor a one-on-one program for each child.