The official biography below was current at the time of the award.
Christopher "Chris" Newlan has been an educator for 26 years and has spent 13 years teaching eighth grade general science at David Wooster Middle School. He previously taught for three years at Thomas Edison Middle School. Prior to formal classroom work, Chris spent 10 years in the non-profit sector teaching marine and environmental science.
As the lead middle school science teacher and a member of the district Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) transition team, Chris has led training for all secondary staff using the Next Generation Science Exemplar (NGSX) pathways and the new OpenSciEd instructional units.
Chris continuously tries to stimulate curiosity in his classroom. Beyond engaging phenomena, he pushes his students to build connections to their own lives and use their knowledge and skills to explain, create, and explore the science of their own communities and lives.
Chris looks for opportunities for students to expand their horizons beyond the classroom. His students have participated in inter-district grant programs on aquaculture and alternative energy. They have twice been state winners of the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow contest. His students participate in Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE) investigations and have presented at international GLOBE webinars.
Chris has presented on science instruction at state and national conferences; was the 2017–2018 Stratford Teacher of the Year; and was the 2014 Excellence in Middle School Teaching awardee from the Connecticut Science Teachers Association.
Chris earned a B.A. in biology from St. Mary's College of Maryland and is a certified secondary science teacher in both biology and general science.