A Career in Education: Mike Owens Joins the McKay School Faculty

Mike Owens brings a focus on educating children living in poverty.

Mike Owens' Faculty picture.

Growing up, Mike Owens was always told not to go into education as a career. Today, he’s one of the newest faculty members at the McKay School’s Department of Educational Leadership and Foundations.

Owens was hired by the McKay School at the start of the fall 2017 semester. He is an associate professor of educational leadership.

Owens grew up in Southern California. He completed his undergraduate degree in international relations at Brigham Young University. Owens says that his degree meant he had to “either go on to grad school or try to figure out something to do.” Inspired by his work as a missionary and subsequent time working in the Missionary Training Center, he chose teaching. 

After teaching at an elementary school for a few years, Owens returned to BYU to earn his master’s degree in international development education. He then studied at the University of Utah and received his doctorate in educational and leadership policy. 

For the past ten years, Owens has served as a faculty member at different universities. Before coming to BYU, he worked at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan, and California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks, California. He has also worked as a tutor. 

Owens says that he saw the value of education during the time he spent teaching at the MTC. He also saw the difference that education made during his mission in Argentina. This led him to research constituent engagements in educational organizations. 

“When I was in Argentina, [I saw] folks [who] were living in poverty and how education really can make a difference in terms of their life aspirations,” he said. “I’m studying ways to make sure that schools attend to the needs of those students.” 

Traveling is one of the things that Owens enjoys about his work. Among his career highlights are traveling to Japan, New Zealand, and an upcoming trip to China. He also takes pride in having research published. 

In his spare time, Owens enjoys spending time with family. Owens has three children, one who is grown and married and two who are still in elementary school. He also enjoys heraldry, the art of designing coats of arms. Owens says he first got into heraldry when he was trying to design a family symbol and that the practice allows him to “expand his horizons” to visual arts. 

Writer: Laurie Bradshaw 

Contact: Cindy Glad (801) 422-1922