About Michael

Michael and his family

(En español) Michael Tilley is a first-generation college graduate who grew up in a small, rural working-class town in Texas. His parents both worked in factories—his mother on an assembly line and his father in the warehouse of a factory. In college, Michael was a successful college debater, ultimately debating in the National Debate Tournament, the NCAA tournament of collegiate debate. Debate had a formative role in Michael’s personal and intellectual development. It taught him the value of research, reasoning, and argument.

Michael has been active with his children’s schools and in discussions of pressing issues in the district for the past seven years.

He earned his Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Kentucky. Following a Fulbright year in Copenhagen, he taught for three years at Georgetown College in Kentucky and spent a fellowship year at St. Olaf College in Minnesota. In 2012, he decided to pursue career opportunities outside of academia, which brought him and his family to Iowa City for a job at ACT. He is currently a science writer and editor for the University of Iowa College of Dentistry. His wife, Rebekah, is also employed by the university. His oldest son attends South East Junior High, and his three younger children attend Lucas Elementary.

Michael has been active with his children’s schools and in discussions of pressing issues in the district for the past seven years. He has written for local media on topics including how the school board should function, justice considerations in education (particularly regarding bussing and class sizes) and budget cuts. He actively campaigned in favor of the 2017 general obligation bond. He is currently the Lucas Elementary representative to the Districtwide Parent Organization and has served as secretary of the Lucas PTO. He also served as the Lucas representative on the transition committee for the new Hoover building, on the ICCSD calendar committee, and on the hiring committee for the Lucas principal.