Michael Lach is the director of STEM policy and strategic initiatives at the University of Chicago Urban Education Institute. He provides local, regional and national leadership on STEM education and policy initiatives while working with the leadership at UEI and the University of Chicago Center for Elementary Mathematics and Science Education (CEMSE) to develop and implement a strategic plan for expanding programs in science education.
Prior to joining UEI, Lach was appointed by Secretary Arne Duncan to lead science and mathematics education efforts at the U. S. Department of Education. Lach began his professional career teaching high school biology and general science at Alceé Fortier Senior High School in New Orleans in 1990 as a charter member of Teach For America. After three years in Louisiana, he joined the national office of Teach For America as Director of Program Design, developing a portfolio based alternative-certification system that was adopted by several states. Returning to the science classroom in 1994 in New York City Public Schools, and then to Chicago in 1995, he was chosen as one of Radio Shack's Top 100 Technology Teachers, earned National Board Certification, and was named Illinois Physics Teacher of the Year. He has served as an Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellow, advising Congressman Vernon Ehlers (R-MI) on science, technology and education issues. He was lead curriculum developer for the Investigations in Environmental Science curriculum developed at the Center for Learning Technologies in Urban Schools at Northwestern University and published by It’s About Time, Inc. As an administrator with the Chicago Public Schools, he led the district’s instructional improvement efforts in science and mathematics in a variety of roles between 2003 and 2009 and ultimately served as CPS Officer of Teaching and Learning, overseeing curriculum and instruction in over 600 schools.
Lach earned a B.A. in physics from Carleton College, an M.A. in science education from the Teachers Collge of Columbia University, and an M.S. in education leadership from Northwestern University.