Michael John Mannion Bio
Michael John Mannion
When Mike was growing up, he was the eldest of twelve grandchildren. The family gathered at Grandmom’s house and even when invited to sit with the adults, Mike always opted for the kids’ table. He was involved with athletics, scouting and the church community throughout his youth. His father struggled with sobriety until Mike was in high school and Mike often spent weeks or months at his aunt’s home to be shielded from an abusive setting. As a result, Mike was not a high-performing student. He struggled in high school as a result of ongoing family distractions and drama. During his first semesters as an undeclared university student, Mike took a position near his dorm as a behavior interventionist and counselor at a newly open group home for men who had previously been institutionalized. He continued his work there and soon after took a position as Recreation and Assistant Director of Camp Joy: an overnight, recreational camp program for people with multiple physical and mental handicaps and what we now refer to as neurodiversity. This is where Mike and Jaz met.
Mike began his education career after graduating from West Chester University formerly known as West Chester State Teachers College. His first position was in the Philadelphia area as a teacher for children with multiple physical and cognitive challenges at the Delaware County Intermediate Unit. Later, he took the position of behavioral specialist and SIED self-contained classroom teacher at Academy Park High. Following a visit to the Bay Area, Mike set out to take another SIED classroom position at SFUSD’s James Denman Middle. For five years Mike taught mathematics and sciences for some of San Francisco’s most challenging students. Mike and Jaz founded a partnership with SFPD and California State Parks and launched a backpacking program for Excelsior District students. Mike soon got the attention of the superintendent’s office and was recognized with awards and scholarships for innovation as an inner-city teacher. He seemed to pick up tutoring clients at every turn and built a strong after-school clientele. Meanwhile, he began playing in various surf rock bands on weekends.
In the late nineties, Mike and Jaz were married and moved to Boulder, CO where Mike became a program director, behavior and learning specialist, and case manager for BVSD’s C.H.O.I.C.E. Program: a hands-on, outdoor-oriented, middle-level, charter school. During this time, he studied Gifted & Talented Education at the University of Northern Colorado. Again, requests for after-school tutoring emerged and Mike got involved in the Denver music scene.
After three years of teaching at BVSD and shortly following the Columbine shooting, Mike resigned from twelve years of tenure and launched Just2 Tutoring. His first day of business was the morning of September 11, 2001. No lesson plans could have prepared them for that day!
Mike has always had a passion for good food and had several cooking lessons from non-English speaking grandmothers while in California. Upon arriving in Boulder, he was a personal chef for several families and helped out at Jaz’s dance studios: Express Yourself and Mosaic Movement Arts. During that time Mike and Jaz founded CAMP of Boulder– a multi-generational, inclusive, community, performance troupe. Over time, word of Mike’s tutoring work got around the front range, and with the support of Mike’s mentor, Pam Allen, Just2 Tutoring became a household name.
In 2013, Jaz joined Just2 to support the organization and soon after, the Just2 Team began to emerge. Mike and the Just2 have been serving students in their homes, local coffee shops, and public library branches for over two decades. Over the years, he learned firsthand the importance of executive function skills and incorporated coaching techniques long before EF was even named. At BPL, Mike is often mistaken for staff and is known by patrons as, “That Tutor Guy” and “The Professor”.
Today, Mike and The Just2 Team have served thousands of young people to improve not only their GPAs but their relationships with their parents and themselves. While all students experienced academic improvement some, got themselves healed from trauma, sought sobriety, and overcame mental health challenges to be successful in college and later, in the workplace. Mike says, Just2 coaches must be committed to being the person they themselves may have needed when they were growing up. Mike is now the founder and head coach of Just2 Tutoring
Mike and J2 serve neurodiverse students with unique needs who are enrolled in local public and private schools. Additionally, Just2 serves home school students and frequently meets with students via video conferencing. J2 specializes in a global approach to academic support including time management, organization, and study skills.