This story originally appeared in the fall/winter 2017 issue of Harker Magazine
Wisconsin native Chris Spenner never spent more than three years in one place as a kid, growing up in Nebraska, Missouri, Kansas and North Carolina. But he’s put down roots at Harker, teaching upper school science and advising the Harker Research Club, Harker Horizon and the Open Lab program. Spenner is enthusiastic about lots of things: family (he’s married to former Harker teacher Erin Redfern), the outdoors and some interesting hobbies, which he shared with Harker Magazine.
What do you like to do when you have a block of free time?
I enjoy hiking and exploring new places with my wife. When I have free time on my own, I go on road trips to play disc golf courses by day and do astrophotography at night.
Brag about something.
[Harker colleague] Kate Schafer and I developed a Human Ecology class, which we taught for the first time last summer. It incorporates our ideal pedagogical visions, including interdisciplinary approaches to big, messy problems like climate change; the involvement of many non-teacher experts; storytelling; direct student experience through travel; and teachers learning alongside students. It went better than I had dared to hope, proving to be the most important and effective class I have ever taught.
For what in your life do you feel most grateful?
I am most grateful for my immediate family: my parents, my brother and my wife. They are as much a part of me as any organ or belief. Everything that I consider to be good about myself, I can trace to them.
For what are you most proud of yourself?
I have been commuting to school by bicycle for the past seven years, every day, rain or shine.
What is something interesting about you that almost no one knows?
I am distantly related to Evel Knievel.