Dr. Mike Matwick
Dr. Michael Matwick is founder and Chief Executive Officer of Pinnacle Education. He has guided Pinnacle Education since the first group of 300 students began taking classes in August 1995. During that time, he has overseen the increase in the number of Pinnacle Education’s campuses, the dramatic rise in the student population and the increasing demand for Pinnacle’s online classes.
Before founding Pinnacle, Dr. Matwick was a reading and social studies teacher at Marcos de Niza High School in Tempe, AZ. And after teaching for 11 years, Dr. Matwick jumped at the chance to become the dropout prevention coordinator at Marcos.
In order to make the program a success, he did extensive research into how other high schools dealt with at-risk students – during which he visited more than 50 schools -- and designed a pilot program for Marcos that incorporated the best elements of all the programs he examined. The Peak Performance Center combined computer-assisting instruction with classes that dealt with social issues, and cooperative education that put the students in jobs in the community.
The center was successful by all measures and when Arizona granted charter schools in 1995, Matwick decided to expand the program and bring it to all students in Arizona. Pinnacle Education, then known as the Arizona Career Academy, was the first school charter school in Arizona.
In the midst of getting Pinnacle Education off the ground, Matwick continued to expand his knowledge of teaching and education. While he already received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Indiana University of Pennsylvania, he received an additional master’s degree in educational leadership from Northern Arizona University in 1994, and two years later was awarded his doctorate in educational leadership from the same college.
Today, Dr. Matwick continues to lead Pinnacle Education’s Online High School and five charter high schools in Arizona as they serve the needs of thousands of students throughout the U.S.