April 20, 2018 4:56 pm

When Michael Christianson first enrolled at Pierce College in 1992, he was not exactly interested in pushing himself to excel in his classes. But after joining the Raider soccer team and finding his place at Pierce, he began to find success in the classroom. To be eligible to play soccer, he was required to take a full-time course load, and he quickly found that staying busy helped him both inside and outside the classroom.
 
“I had more homework than I was used to in high school, but having the camaraderie with my teammates and having to do well in my classes to stay eligible really helped me as a student,” Christianson said. “It was very busy being a student-athlete, and I really enjoyed having more freedom as a learner at Pierce College.”
 
Christianson’s soccer team became the first team inducted into the college’s Athletics Hall of Fame. The team was very close-knit, and many have kept in touch throughout the years. “We were hard to beat that year, and you could tell it was a special team,” he said. “I truly enjoyed being out on the field with my teammates.”
 
Christianson majored in accounting at Pierce College, and he also took many electives in the business department. After graduating from Pierce, he transferred to Central Washington University, where he majored in business education. He was hired as a teacher at Mount Tahoma High School, where he taught for nearly 10 years.
 
In his position today as Chief Technology Officer of the Bethel School District, he continues to impact students and teachers in classrooms districtwide. After a technology levy was passed in the Bethel School District in 2014, Michael was selected to oversee a project that would deploy 22,000 iPads to students and teachers throughout the district.
 
As a result of the program, Bethel was named an Apple Distinguished Program for its use of iPads to teach students about collaboration, communication, creativity and critical thinking. The Apple Distinguished Program designation is reserved for programs that meet criteria for innovation, leadership and educational excellence, and demonstrate exemplary learning environments.
 
“What I enjoy most about my position is the ability to help provide new and innovative learning opportunities for students,” he said.
 
He believes his time at Pierce College was integral in helping him achieve the level of success he’s reached today. “During my time at Pierce College, I learned how to work hard in order to be successful in school,” he said. “I’m so grateful for the opportunity to go to Pierce so I could continue on with my education and find out what I wanted to do in my career.”