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Newest Affiliate Helps Candidates Find Their Own Paths

Having grown up attending a Quaker school, Mike Balotti, believes in the importance of students taking ownership over their own experiences. Says TBG’s newest affiliate: “The more invested students are in directing their own course, the more dedicated they are to meeting educational goals—because they chose those goals for themselves.”

Mike is based in the Philadelphia area, home to many excellent independent school options. He also spends between one-quarter and one-third of his time traveling to build his expertise of secondary school options nationwide.

Mike’s general love of travel has led him to all 50 states and six out of seven continents. His own college days were the beginning of these adventures. After starting college in upstate New York, he then pursued a variety of unique educational experiences. Highlights included semesters with the Audubon Expedition Institute, which is a traveling school focused on environmental education, and the National Outdoor Leadership School, through which he completed a semester of study in East Africa. Mike completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Redlands, where his program combined courses in education, environmental studies, and sociology. “Because of my own experiences,” Mike says, “I have a strong affinity for and a desire to advocate for students who think outside the box. I also understand and can offer perspective to families that may feel anxiety about a student’s path being nontraditional.”

Mike has been working closely with teens since 1998—writing curriculum and working in environmental education centers, serving as an admission director for a nationally recognized therapeutic program, and helping create an international therapeutic boarding school in Central America.

In his role as an educational consultant, Mike serves families seeking traditional boarding schools and therapeutic educational settings. Mike is pleased to join the TBG team as a professional affiliate because of its dedication to putting students and families first. “That is also the standard with which I operate,” he says. “To see those values come into alignment with such wonderful colleagues is inspiring.”

As an affiliate of TBG, Mike is welcomed for the zest and creativity that he brings to thinking about secondary education options. “Mike finds the same joy that we do in serving students and families,” Cammie Bertram says. “He also shares our values on the importance of building relationships with schools and operating with the utmost professionalism.”