Justin Aglio, Growth Mindset + Open Learning = Innovation

The Path to Higher Ed is a SchooLinks hosted podcast community that explores trending topics and issues in the area of college and career readiness. Our featured guests are pushing education forward by constantly learning from, innovating and applying their college and career readiness practices.



Justin Aglio, Director of Innovation and K-4 Academic Achievement, joins us to talk about how the core values of Montour School District create a culture of teacher autonomy and student-centered learning. To better understand learner needs, the district engages in challenge discovery and student shadowing. As a result of this engagement, MSD has structured its schools to encourage exploratory learning and even allows for 40 minutes of unstructured time for teachers to instruct on any topic of their choosing. MSD’s culture also pushes self-discovery and agency through calculated risk-taking and the adoption of growth mindsets.



About Justin Aglio


Justin served as a teacher, award-winning principal, and is now the Director K-4 Academic Achievement and K-12 Innovation at Montour School District in Pennsylvania. During his current tenure at Montour, the district was ranked one of “30 Districts Worth Visiting” by the organization Getting Smart. Montour is also a member of the Digital Promise League of Innovative Schools, Schools That Can Innovative Partners, and Common Sense Education Certified Districts.


Justin has been nationally recognized for helping children and families and as a leader in educational reform. Recently, he was selected as a Thought Leader by Future Ready Schools. He was also recognized by the Pennsylvania Association for Educational Communications and Technology (PAECT) as the 2014 Outstanding Leader of the Year and by International Society for Technology of Education (ISTE) as an Emerging Leader in 2013. In 2015, Justin was selected to participate in the Presidential Maker Roundtable discussion at the White House.


Justin is a Google Certified Educator, advisor for Science Tots, a member of the Design Team at the Fab Lab Carnegie Science Center, LUMAtic at Human-Centered Design LUMAlab, and Co-Organizer of EdCampPGH. Justin was also one of three featured principals in the book Best Practices of Literacy Leaders: Keys to School Improvement.


Prior to coming to Montour, Justin served as the Principal of the Upper School at The Environmental Charter School at Frick Park (ECS). He also served as a principal at Propel Charter Schools and under his leadership, his schools received numerous awards.


Justin holds a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education from Waynesburg University, Masters of Science in Curriculum and Instruction from McDaniel College, and Superintendent’s Letter of Eligibility Certificate from California University of Pennsylvania. He is currently pursuing his Doctorate in Leadership and Administration from Point Park University.



About Montour School District


The Montour School District is a comprehensive public school system comprised of an elementary school, a middle school, and a high school. The community encompasses the suburban areas of Robinson and Kennedy Townships, the boroughs of Ingram and Thornburg, and Pennsbury Village, with a combined population of 23,000 residents. The heart of the community is located approximately 8 miles from downtown Pittsburgh.


The District serves 2,894 students, employs a total of 449 staff including 217 teachers, and boasts an extensive system-wide curriculum and an impressive variety of extracurricular activities for students in grades K-12. Montour has the highest PSSA scores out of surrounding school districts.


Montour’s mission is to provide an exemplary and comprehensive educational experience that enables each individual to achieve maximum potential, to respect themselves and others, and to become a responsible and productive citizen. The District maintains a tradition of providing students with a superior educational experience. Its students are consistently recognized for their academic, musical, and athletic achievements, and its programs ensure that students receive the academic and social challenges necessary to succeed.



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