Show and Tell: Michael Bell

A Q&A with an IXL Educational Sales Consultant

December 22, 2014

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Life at IXL

Get to know Michael Bell, an IXL sales consultant and former educator. He tells us all about the joy of working with IXL customers and his passion for education, the arts…and rocks!

The Basics

Name and title: Michael Bell, Educational Sales Consultant

Has been at IXL for: 6 months

Hometown and current city: Grew up in Scottsdale, Ariz. Currently lives in San Francisco.

 

Life at IXL

What did you do prior to coming to IXL?

I helped found a charter school in San Francisco, Gateway Middle School. I developed a 7th grade humanities curriculum, including English language arts and social studies, and helped set the school culture. Before that, I did Teach for America at Ocala Middle School in San Jose.

Why did you join IXL?

I had heard of IXL because it’s one of the big edtech firms in the Bay Area, and it was a product we used at my school. I’ve also always believed in technology as a solution for education inequalities. I was initially interested in a content development position, but got called in for a sales interview. I liked the fact that I would be able to work with districts and schools and move them toward blended learning models. I didn’t think I wanted to do sales at first, but sales is only “sales-y” if you sell something you don’t believe in. Luckily, IXL has a great product that I think is really helping our students and schools!

What do you like about working at IXL?

I love how customer-facing my position is. I get to hear the success stories from teachers, principals, and superintendents about how IXL has brought about change in their school or classrooms. As somebody who got into education to help bring about reform and move us toward a new era of education, that’s the type of stuff that fuels me.

 

Photo by Michael Bell

Life beyond IXL

What do you like to do in your free time?

One of my big passions outside education is the arts. I’m actively engaged in art creation and collection in San Francisco. When I was teaching, I would spend my summers running artists-in-residencies where I worked with groups of 10-15 people to do community-based collaborative art. I love all things art related – going to museums and galleries, taking my camera and going for a walk, or doing studio visits.

What is your ideal vacation?

Some sort of backpacking outside the country, or a road trip through a part of the U.S. that I’ve never been to. I really like being out and about and not having a clear schedule, and getting to bounce around from city to city and meet people, with just the clothes on my back.   

Tell us a fun fact about yourself.

Photo by Michael Bell

I keep a rock collection that I started over 10 years ago, and everyone makes fun of me! It’s a big bowl of rocks [see photo, right]. The collection has come out of travelling – they’re my cheap souvenir from everywhere I go. From Arizona, it’s a rock off the trail, and when I used to go to Cape Cod with my family it was a rock off the beach. 

Just for Fun

If you could have any superhero power, what would it be, and would you use it for good or evil?

I would have the ability to never have to sleep again, and I would use it for good. I would use all that extra time to make art, solve the world’s problems, and do all the things I don’t have time to do in my normal day!

Let’s play a winter-themed word association game! Say the first thing that comes to mind:

  • Snow: New England
  • Cookie: Holiday
  • Present: My birthday!
  • Ski: I can’t.
  • Bell: My last name!
  • Winter: The worst.
  • Elf: Will Ferrell

If you could pick two celebrities to be your parents, who would they be?

Nicholas Cage and Nicholas Cage.

Credit: ChinellatoPhoto / Shutterstock

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All Comments (1)

Mr. Anonymous June 24, 2015 at 10:13 am

Haha! Nicholas Cage and Nicholas Cage.

Reply

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