Parker Thomas is the Managing Partner of Mirus Labs, an educational design studio that helps learning organizations create spaces and experiences that encourage creativity, wonder and learning. He is a cofounder of Urban Montessori Charter School, an Oakland elementary school with 330 scholars based on design thinking, arts integration and the teachings of Maria Montessori. A passionate believer that making things develops creative problem-solving skills, he is also the cofounder of STEAM Factory, an Oakland family makerspace currently building a two-person, 30 mph hovercraft. Prior to Mirus, he built and sold 2 companies, built 2 airplanes and flew them around the country, managed the DARPA-funded MENTOR Makerspace program for Make: Magazine and co-invented Maker Studio, a building toy currently sold in bookstores and specialty toy stores across the country. In his spare time, he makes drones, boats, pens, knives, treehouses and anything else his kids want to make.
Dave Philhower is a partner at Mirus. Dave’s experiences include years as a special educator, ‘regular ed’ co-teacher, and later administrator in urban K-8 PBL schools. As a founding teacher at an Expeditionary Learning school in Washington DC, he got to meet, work and paddle alongside many leaders in the project-based learning world. His knack for people-oriented systems thinking brought him out of the classroom into school leadership roles, including Director of Student Services, Special Education Coordinator, and Principal. The westward move to California introduced him to the Buck Institute for Education, for whom he consults as a National Faculty member, leading PBL 101 and supporting district efforts to transition to more active, student-centered instruction
Dave’s consulting work focuses on the integration of effective student-centered pedagogy into (re)design plans, leadership coaching to develop and manage work plans, and professional development at the school and district level to translate best practices of project-based learning and design thinking from andragogy to pedagogy.
Born and raised in Delaware, he now resides in Berkeley with his daughters and curiously extended post-nuclear family. Dave enjoys exploring NorCal tidepools, watching cartoons with his girls, and getting thrown around the aikido mat.