Our Team

Mike Balotti

President

Mike has worked closely with adolescents and their families since 1998. Prior to launching Redwood Educational Services LLC, he has supported students and parents in a variety of important roles including writing curriculum and teaching at a residential environmental education center in California, helping to develop and establish an international therapeutic boarding school in Central America, as Director of Admissions for a nationally recognized therapeutic wilderness program and guiding students and families through their personal and academic journeys as an educational consultant here in Philadelphia with a different consulting firm.

Mike’s commitment to education and working with adolescents dates back to the early 1990’s when he had his own experiences in alternative education. Having grown up going to Quaker school he always valued the importance of the student having a voice in their process and ownership over their own experience. Mike started his college career in upstate New York, followed by a wide variety of enlightening educational experiences including participating in the Audubon Expedition Institute, a traveling school that focused on environmental education, and completing a semester-long NOLS course in East Africa. After completing a self-designed undergraduate degree combining education, environmental studies, and sociology at the University of Redlands – Johnston Center for Integrative Studies, Mike went on to do some graduate work at both Bath University in England and at the University of Pennsylvania.

Additionally, Mike’s passport is well-worn. He has followed his love of different cultures, the outdoors and adventure travel across six of the seven continents and fifty of the fifty states (including Puerto Rico and several of the USVI for those who are counting). He has stared down a poisonous snake in the mountains of northern Laos (and won, thankfully), ate questionable things with Maasai warriors on an African hillside, hiked through virgin old growth rainforest in Central America, canoed through the cypress swamps of the southeastern United States, jet-boated in New Zealand, skied the Dolomites in Northern Italy, and explored the ancient Andean city of Machu Picchu in addition to many other fulfilling adventures.

When not helping families, Mike enjoys spending time with his wonderful wife, Jen, and with their dog Luca (a therapy dog in-training), traveling to new and remote locations, running, reading, volunteering, following baseball, and playing something that somewhat resembles golf.