D36 Makes a Difference Through Teaching and Entrepreneurship
In honor of National STEAM Day (November 8, 2017), we highlighted District 36 alum Christopher Hull (Washburne Class of 1998, New Trier High School Class of 2001) who is both a teacher and entrepreneur in the technology industry. Christopher has been a seventh grade social studies teacher for over 10 years at Elm Place Middle School in North Shore School District 112 (Highland Park). He also co-founded Otus, a student performance platform that allows school systems to generate critical classroom data and gather it alongside data from the most popular third-party tools, providing actionable insight to educators.
Christopher has a Bachelor of Arts from Denison University (Dual Major: Political Science and Religion), a Master’s degrees from DePaul University (Secondary Education) and Argosy University (Educational Leadership). He was also included on the National School Boards Association’s 2016 20 to Watchlist. He shares that his love of learning was fueled during his years in The Winnetka Public Schools. “There were amazing teachers throughout my time as a student in D36. As I wondered what I should do with my life, I wanted to have the same impact. And today, seeing kids enjoy learning, and seeing them improve, is an experience unlike any other.”
A classroom activity he remembers during his D36 years was building a water speed boat with a paperclip, rubber band, and other odds and ends. “I try now to provide my students with the experience of being presented a problem and brainstorming possible solutions in a group. Also, within Otus, I have seen the way the development team works to solve problems, and I find these methods also work in the classroom. The ability to read, problem solve, and think for yourself was valued at such a high level; these skills have helped me in all ventures in life.”
Christopher shares advice with students who may want to follow in his footsteps as a teacher and/or entrepreneur, “I find three key principles help drive success: To be honest, to be respectful, and to strive to be your best while risking failure.”