How do learning spaces define both culture and values? How can physical space best support learning in a school community? What kinds of learning spaces support collaboration and connection as well as sustained focus and flow? These are questions Michael Downs has grappled with in his work as a facility director, principal, and head of school.
Throughout his career, Michael has been drawn to the challenge of creating environments and spaces in which people can flourish. After earning an MFA in directing for the stage from UCLA, Michael spent seven years working internationally in educational theater, television, and films, before transitioning to K-12 school leadership.
Over 28 years culminating in 17 years as head of three K-12 schools (US independent and international), Michael combined his passion for learning organizations, the arts, and small and large scale school building projects. Having been involved directly in four major K-12 school construction projects, he has enjoyed partnering with architects, construction personnel, and most importantly, learning communities in the creation of multiple and varied learning environments.
Michael believes leaders must begin projects by listening deeply to the ideas, needs and vision of a community and to help realize goals through skilled facilitation and partnership.