'Berg to welcome alum, super teacher as Opening Convocation speaker

Heidelberg will officially kick off the 2022-23 academic year with an in-person Opening Convocation ceremony on Thursday, August 18. In addition to all of the traditions of starting the school year and welcoming the Class of 2026 into the ‘Berg family, the campus community will hear inspirational words from Tiffin Columbian High School biology teacher Chris Monsour, a 1999 graduate of Heidelberg.

Chris is an award-winning educator and world traveler who has adapted his passion for conservation into his classroom. After earning his degree in environmental biology, he received his master’s degree in science education from Montana State University. During his 23 years as a biology teacher at Columbian, he has taught AP biology, anatomy and physiology, environmental science and oceanography, as well as classes in biology and environmental science at Heidelberg.

Throughout his teaching career, Chris has modeled how science is practiced, bringing some exceptional travel experiences back to his classroom. He spent a month on a research vessel in Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument with NOAA as the Teacher at Sea and has traveled the world with Earth Expeditions, an organization that engages people with grassroots conservation and sustainability projects.

Chris also has traveled to Trinidad to work on Leatherback turtle conservation, Namibia for Cheetah conservation, Australia to work on Great Barrier Reef conservation efforts, Argentina for Condor conservation and most recently, to Thailand to study what Buddhism teaches about the environment. 

Additionally, Chris has also built relationships with science organizations dedicated to improving science education and inquiry. He has been active with the National Association of Biology Teachers serving as a board member, director of NABT’s Bio Club High School Program, and now as the president. He has also served as a Biointeractive Ambassador for the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, which is a network of expert high school and undergraduate educators who work closely with BioInteractive to promote and support evidence-based teaching practices. 

In 2015, Chris was awarded the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. In 2020, he received the Kim Foglia AP Biology Service Award from The National Association of Biology Teachers which recognizes an AP Biology teacher who displays a willingness to share materials, serves as a mentor to both students and professional colleagues and creates an innovative and student-centered classroom environment.

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