Meet Your Neighbor

Meet Your Neighbor by Caryn Hill
Meet your neighbor Michael McConnell.
Marisa & Michael McConnell, Discovery Neighborhood

Michael McConnell has been the principal of Innovation Academy since it opened for the 2017-2018 school year. Located on Desert Fairway Drive, Innovation Academy is a STEM school (science, technology, engineering, math) that accepts students from the entire Tucson area.

Michael’s passion for education, kids, and the community serves the school well. During his 27 years with Amphi School District, Michael was a kindergarten teacher for 11 years before becoming a school administrator. After working as a principal at Lulu Walker Elementary, Michael earned his STEM certificate from Columbia University.

Innovation Academy has received prestigious honors both nationally and internationally. This spring, the school was one of only ten STEM schools recognized internationally; the school has also earned national STEM accreditation for the past 3 years. Michael’s objective is to teach the students to be great communicators and thinkers. This means helping students learn how to problem solve and think critically and creatively.

Community service is also an essential part of the school’s curriculum. Embracing a “Kind” school philosophy, the students will coordinate community clothing drives, leave kind notes throughout the neighborhoods, and during COVID, they sent holiday and valentine’s day cards to the residents of Splendido.

Michael, his wife Marisa, and their two dogs have lived in Rancho Vistoso since 2017. They love the community for its friendliness and location. Michael can bike to work, and his mother-in-law, who lives with him, finds everything she needs without leaving the community. As for the dogs, Honey Bee Canyon is their favorite place to go for an outing.

Since Innovation Academy is hands-on and project-based, volunteers are an important part of the school. Retired engineers, physicians, and scientists are always needed. The school’s curriculum also includes art, music, and physical education, anyone willing to lend a hand is greatly appreciated.

If you’d like to volunteer next school year at Innovation Academy, you can contact Michael directly at

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