Being a learner is a big part of my identity.  I loved school, and went back to school as an adult . . . twice. Despite all that time spent with teachers and mentors, I never really considered myself an educator. It dawned on me later, after being an undergraduate teaching assistant, managing an urban farm and its education programs, and teaching an undergrad course, that I already was a teacher. All I really needed to do was own that identity, and actually get some training in how to be an effective educator! So, I went for it. I learned from great educators and the staff and Fellows of Knowles. Today, being a learner is still central to my identity, but I am a learner-educator who gets to learn from and with my students.”

Chris’s Story

Teaching Disciplines

Biology, Chemistry, Environmental Science, Integrated Science, Sociology

Why Science?

I chose to be a science teacher because my own science and social science education helped me see and interact with the world in new ways. The sciences gave me a framework for thinking and approaching problems and questions I encounter in my life, and I want my students to have those tools as well. I see a science education as an essential part of living a life that is enjoyable, informed, and civically engaged. I am passionate about creating learning environments where all students can access the joys of the sciences.

Professional Experience

Prior to teaching at New Trier High School, Christopher taught eighth-grade science at East Grand Rapids Middle School in Grand Rapids, Michigan; biology, chemistry, and sociology at West Michigan Aviation Academy in Grand Rapids, Michigan; and ninth-grade integrated science and 10th-grade environmental science at Washtenaw Technical Middle College in Ann Arbor, Michigan. During his time in Ann Arbor, he established a school garden and a service-learning course.

Chris has also been an adjunct faculty member at Grand Valley State University, where he taught a biology lab when he wasn’t focused on stay-at-home parenting his newborn. Before really learning how to be a teacher, he also taught Intro to “Community and Environmental Sociology” and “Resources and People” at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He tried really hard, and realized he wanted to learn more about being an effective teacher.

Before that he was the director of urban agriculture for the Resource Center in Chicago, Illinois, where he oversaw vegetable production, and educational and internship programming.

His first teaching gig was as an undergraduate teaching assistant in a biology lab.


Chris enjoys vegetable gardening, biking, running, dabbling in visual art, and playing with his two sons.

Academic Background

  • University of Wisconsin-Madison (Master of Science in Secondary Science Education)
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison (Master of Science in Agroecology)
  • Michigan State University Lyman Briggs College (Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science)

Knowles Academy Courses Taught
Engaging Math and Science Students in Engineering Design