Principal’s passion sparks direction for new IGNITE Middle School

While enrolled in medical school and doing night rounds at a hospital, Michael Gayles came to a life-changing decision: he would follow his dream of becoming an educator.

After graduating from medical school, Gayles went on to serve as a teacher at North Dallas High School and, several years later, as an assistant principal at T.W. Browne Middle School. Today, Gayles is helping open and serving as principal at IGNITE Middle School, the new Dallas ISD Personalized Learning transformation campus opening in August.

For Gayles, his goal for IGNITE Middle School is simple: help students envision their best possible life, and set them on the path toward making that life a reality.

“Growing up I didn’t have anyone who helped me think about what I was passionate about or possible career paths I could pursue,” Gayles said. “What I’m most excited about is how Ignite Middle School will help students discover their passions at an early age.”

IGNITE Middle School is seeing tremendous interest: more than 700 incoming sixth-graders applied for what was originally 150 seats. Due to the high interest, the campus increased its inaugural class to 230 students.

IGNITE Middle School is a Personalized Learning campus that will provide individualized instruction, not only based on each student’s academic needs, but also on their interests and goals. The students will take field trips to high schools, colleges and workplaces to help them better envision their future.

“The most important resource in a child’s educational life is their own potential. If we can ignite that potential, they will be unstoppable,” Gayles said. “Ignite is dedicated to helping students discover their super powers.”

IGNITE Middle School is opening thanks to the Office of Transformation and Innovation’ Public School Choice Competitive Proposal Process. The process gives educators the chance to create high-quality, best-fit options for Dallas ISD students to realize their full academic potential.

The Public School Choice Competitive Proposal Process, Version 5.0, is currently underway for any educator interested in rebranding their campus or designing a new choice school.

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