Chief Financial Officer
Mickey Buhl joined Holyoke Public Schools in 2016 as the Executive Director of Secondary Education to help create a plan to redesign the high school level. Mickey worked with folks across the schools and community to develop the High School Redesign Plan that was released in 2017. Since then, Mickey has served as the Executive Director of Opportunity Academy and helped create and lead several of the innovative programs created by the Redesign Plan including the Early College programs, Work-Based Learning program, and most principally, Opportunity Academy, which is a set of alternative high school programs that provide multiple pathways to a diploma for teenagers and adults for whom traditional large high schools did not work. Close to 200 people have graduated through Opportunity Academy over the 5 years of its existence. OA’s pathways have provided a lifeline to hundreds of learners who otherwise would have dropped out, and in partnership with the great work done at Holyoke High School and Dean Tech have helped increase the graduation rate by more than 10 percentage points and lower the dropout rate from a pre-receivership average around 10 percent per year to historic lows around 3.5 percent.
Mickey has over 20 years of experience leading schools, the great majority of that time focused on turnarounds for struggling schools. Prior to Holyoke, Mickey was the Founding Head of School for an alternative charter high school in Springfield (Phoenix Charter Academy), coached principals and other school leaders for school improvement with the Achievement Network, led an English-language international school, and helped turn around a struggling elementary school in Madison, Wisconsin. Mickey has masters degrees in Public Policy from the University of California-Berkeley and in Education from the College of William and Mary. He is a licensed School Business Administrator license in Massachusetts. Prior to becoming an educator, Mickey worked in the US Congress for the Congressional Budget Office (and likes to point out that during his tenure, the Federal Government ran a surplus!)
Across all of the schools he has led, Mickey has had a laser-like focus on the school budget as the key instrument to drive improvement. He has a passion for good public policy, knows that no area of government is more important for children and our future than the public schools, and believes that one can tell the values and priorities of an organization by looking at its budget. He can think of no better way to combine those passions than to work with the ambitious and committed team of leaders and educators as the Chief Financial Officer for Holyoke Public Schools.
Outside of work, Mickey is as passionate about baseball as he is about budgets and policy. He has three children spanning middle school through college of whom he is immensely proud and a wonderful wife who keeps him balanced and fills his life with beauty and joy.