2020 Tillman Scholar

Mike McCarthy

University of Washington

“I am wholly committed to the future of our nation and there is no greater honor than to elevate our youth through a world-class education.”

Following the powerful call of public service, Mike joined the military in 1998, desiring to both become an educator serving his community and a soldier serving his nation. His first step toward that goal was attending Northwest Nazarene University in Nampa, Idaho where he balanced scholarship, service in the National Guard and athletics as a varsity baseball player. Upon graduating, Mike returned to the community in which he grew up, even teaching at the middle school he attended. He used his love of sport to impact lives on the baseball and football field as a middle and high school coach.

After the invasion of Iraq in 2003, Mike deployed as a member of the Washington Army National Guard where he served as an infantry team leader conducting patrols, raids and humanitarian relief missions in the heart of Baghdad. Mike was on the ground for the first democratic election in Iraq and witnessed the power of diplomacy and building community to create social change.

Following another deployment to Iraq in 2009, Mike pursued a master’s degree and principal credential at the University of Washington in Seattle. He has since served as a school administrator and building principal working to eliminate achievement disparities and provide a voice, a dream and a bright future for all of the scholars under his care.

Mike desires to create educational change, ensuring positive outcomes for all students and families, and will use his doctorate in educational leadership and policy studies to create educational systems powerfully aligned to community needs.