Meet The Team

Co-Founder – Micki O’Brien, M.A.

Micki O’Brien, M.A., is a pioneering thinker and an adept teacher. Not only does she tend to think outside the box, she also doesn’t really believe that the box exists. “Uniqueness and diversity, including neurodiversity, are what I truly believe in. Each of us is a unique, individual person who has unique, individual gifts and our schools and other institutions have the opportunity to support the development of these unique gifts. Instead of individuals attempting to fit into the boxes that have been created, at this point in human evolution we have the opportunity to create and expand our organizations so that we celebrate and build upon the truth of this diversity.”

Growing up with a parent in the military, Micki moved around and was exposed to different cultures and ways of doing things. She developed a love of learning and an awareness of diversity at an early age. Due to her own learning challenges she developed ways to “work around” the existing education processes and had several brilliant teachers who appreciated her unique ways (including one who tap danced math problems for the class!). In high school she had her first taste of Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) when she was a part of the peer-mentoring program.

Micki went on to get a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Santa Clara University, a Jesuit institution, where she co-founded a peace group and coordinated a service-learning program. She studied American Sign Language at Gallaudet University’s summer language program, was trained as a youth leader in Do Something’s Brick City Institute, and ran an environmental program with the National Service League in Budapest, Hungary. After doing teacher training in the Montessori model she attended Naropa University, a Buddhist inspired institution, where she wrote her Master’s thesis on applying Integral Theory, Ken Wilber’s work, to public education systems in the United States. While there she facilitated a diversity group, helped create the Human Resources department and became a board member for the National Coalition of Alternative Community Schools.

Micki specializes in seamlessly integrating modalities, techniques and approaches to create fun, inspired trainings. Her teaching credentials include Special Education for students with moderate to severe disabilities, Secondary Social Sciences, Multiple Subjects (Elementary), and Health Education. In addition to her Master’s from Naropa University, she has an “all but the final paper” Master’s in Special Education from National University in California and experience with: Special Education, Life Skills, Montessori Education (including farm schools), experiential education, Jesuit Education, Environmental Education, Expeditionary Learning, evening school for working high school students/individualized education, democratic education, service learning, contemplative education, transformative education, Integral Education and Infinite Possibilities training. She is an Advanced Certified Trainer in the Nurtured Heart Approach® and, now, Aligned Education!

Three things few people know about Micki:

  1. She studied pantomime as a tween and loved it!
  2. She loves to canoe and worked in a boathouse in high school.
  3. She believes in hacking her health and so is constantly checking out new ideas about eating, exercise and the mind/body connection. Currently she loves hot yoga and experimenting with good fats (coconut, avocado, pastured butter, etc).

Co-Founder – Laurie Thibert

Laurie Thibert is passionate about creating systems that work. Throughout her career she has focused on positions that make a positive difference for all involved – the employer, the employees and the clients. When Laurie and Micki met through a leadership program, they discovered alignment in many ways. Over time they recognized the amazing synergy they had for bringing Micki’s vision to life of transforming cultures whether families, schools or organizations, to support the brilliance of each child and adult to shine brightly in the world …and Aligned Education came to life.

Laurie is an accomplished executive who builds aligned corporate relationships, programs and organizations. Laurie holds degrees in Accounting and Business Computer Systems from University of Portland followed by 5 years in Management with Hyatt Hotels and 14 years in Sales/Marketing Account Management at Watson Pharmaceuticals (now known as Allergan.) Laurie knows the ups/downs of the start-up realm having been owner of a national startup in 2007 and has consulted for startups and non-profits in the years hence. Her specialty is in connecting ideas, solutions, people and organizations to create results.

As the proud mother of a teenaged young man, Laurie has been effectively using the principles of Aligned Education and the Nurtured Heart Approach in their home and community since first being exposed to them through conversations with Micki. She is living proof of the difference this work can make in peoples’ lives, having created more joy and success with her very talented son and having supported other young people in the community through what many would see as life and death struggles. This personal experience of success, and fun, is a driving force in the operations of Aligned Education.

Three things you may not know about Laurie:

  1. She frequently goes to Ghana, West Africa to assist with water wells & education. While leading a trip there in 2008, she met and fell in love with her amazing son (who was 9 years old at the time).
  2. She co-produced an award winning documentary film, “Hope, Ghana” which was shown at 4 international film festivals.
  3. As one of the oldest of 8 strong willed-independent children, she really wishes her parents had access to NHA and Micki’s knowledge when she was growing up! Life would have been MUCH more JOYFUL! (Laurie’s mother responded after taking the 1 Hour NHA Intro course, “Where was this when I needed it? It’s really good!”)

This is the point of alignment, where our inner beliefs and values meet and hopefully come to align with our outer experience in the world.

Micki O’Brien, M.A.

Founder, Aligned Education

Teacher, Speaker and Author

Contact us if you would like to have Micki speak to your organization.

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