Mike Amarillas, a San Diego native, studied physics at Stanford University but couldn’t handle summer cooped up in a laboratory. He spent some summers working as a YMCA camp counselor and became convinced his future was in teaching. After receiving his B.S. in physics he entered the Stanford Teacher Education Program to obtain a teaching credential and M.Ed. He spent six years teaching physics at a diverse comprehensive high school in the San Francisco Bay Area, and now teaches engineering at High Tech High North County.