Michael Golden was fulfilled as the CEO of Educurious, the education nonprofit he co-founded seven years ago to create project-based learning opportunities, professional development, and an expert network that connects students to professions and career paths. The Seattle-based nonprofit reached nearly100,000 students in more than 20 states.
But when he was offered the chance to lead a new center for educational innovation at Penn GSE, Golden said he had to take it.
“This is an unique opportunity to work on the intractable problems that are facing educators at every level,” said Golden, who will join Penn GSE this month.
Throughout his career in the public and private sectors, Golden has championed student-centered educational approaches that give learners the skills they will need to thrive in the 21st century.
Prior to launching Educurious, he was the corporate vice president of Education Products Group at Microsoft Corporation. He has also served as vice president for strategic planning and marketing at Pearson Education and as deputy secretary with the Pennsylvania Department of Education, where he guided strategy, policy, programs, and legislation for more than 2 million PK-12, postsecondary, and higher education students.
Golden earned his Ed.D. from Penn GSE and an MBA from Harvard.
After spending almost a decade in the Pacific Northwest, Golden is also looking forward to returning to Pennsylvania.
“I'm a product of Pennsylvania public schools,” Golden said. “When I worked at the state Department of Education, we helped schools find ways to embrace new approaches, and Pennsylvania became a national leader. I'm hoping the center can collaborate with schools and educators in the commonwealth to transform how students learn."
While Golden is leaving Educurious, he will maintain ties to the organization, which has received support from the George Lucas Educational Foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Bezos Family Foundation, among others.
Penn GSE and Educurious have a signed a memorandum of understanding to explore potential joint projects, with a focus on ideas that would expand equity and access in education. Golden recognizes the value of expertise that both organizations possess, and from his time at Penn GSE, believes they can be an asset for one another.
“We are always looking for entrepreneurs that can turn a good idea into a sustainable venture that provides real benefits to learners,” said Bobbi Kurshan, executive director of academic innovation at Penn GSE. “Michael has a long track record of success marrying research to practice, and he will be a tremendous resource for developing educational innovation and entrepreneurship.”