Meet Superhero Educator: Chris Stone
An educator who’s made a tremendous impact on students, parents and the community.
As a 20-year veteran of teaching, Chris Stone knows how important it is to make learning fun and engaging for young kids. “Students today are very visual, and they want to be engaged quickly,” says Chris “You need to figure out some different interactive ways to get your message across to them. Using technology is one way to do that.”
Chris knows the world is increasingly moving towards technology-based societies. He’s pushing his students in this direction to help prepare them to meet the demands and challenges of this new world head on. “Many careers require some element of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math),” says Chris. He uses STEM in his curriculum to immerse students in fun hands-on investigations, both inside and outside of the classroom.
For Chris, teaching doesn’t stop when the bell rings at 3:00 p.m. This dedicated 5th-grade teacher has made it his life’s mission to engage students, parents and the community in fun family-friendly after school activities, such as building rockets or exploring robotics. “Even from my first years of teaching, I’ve always run after school programs,” says Chris “It's important to get to know the families of your students and families in the community because that's the backbone of education.”
Chris became an educator because he wanted to make a positive impact on the lives of others. Over the years, his impact has grown beyond the schools he’s taught at, and extended well past his community of Wallingford into various other communities. Through his efforts, Chris has been able to raise generous donations and grants to fund after school programs. These donations allow kids and families, especially in under-served and under-represented populations, to participate in STEM-related programs. “Teaching STEM in a family environment gives parents side-by-side time with their kids, and gives me the opportunity to interact with lots of different families from diverse backgrounds,” says Chris.
“I've never really looked at teaching as a job,” says Chris “It is my passion and what I enjoy doing.” But at the same time, Chris knows how important it is to manage the work-life balance. He knows he has a great support system for all the wonderful programs he runs, and credits his wife Wendy for his success. “I would say without my wife's support, I wouldn't be able to do the things that I've done.” As a father of three wonderful boys, Chris is actively involved in all their extracurricular activities. “Being a dad is a very rewarding experience, and I would say that I'm proudest of my three boys.”
What’s next for this superhero educator? “I know that I'll continue to teach and continue to educate children as much as I can and anywhere I can,” says Chris “I really feel as though my gift and calling is to teach kids.” Chris is not limiting himself to teaching just STEM because he has more of a global view on education and wants to explore where this can take him.
“Life in itself is an education,” says Chris “I want to learn and grow as an educator.” Whether he’s visiting different schools in China, going to the Exploratorium in San Francisco, or representing educators at NASA’s Educator Workshops at the John Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, this inspiring educator is ready for any adventure that comes his way.
PLUS: Watch Chris’ “Superhero Educator” video here!