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MKA Appoints the First Director of STEM+ Programming

Montclair Kimberley Academy (MKA) is excited to announce that Chris McLaughlin has been appointed the school's first Director of STEM+ Programming. Chris will officially join Montclair Kimberley Academy on July 1, 2024. MKA colleagues who assisted in the search helped MKA find a leader who can serve both our youngest learners — he will focus his work on our Pre-K through eighth grade program — and our faculty and staff. 

Chris currently serves as the Grammar School STEAM Coordinator and Middle School Theatre Production Manager at Columbia Grammar and Preparatory School (CGPS) in New York City. He was drawn to MKA by its outstanding reputation in STEM and the arts. During his tenure at CGPS over the past decade, Chris launched initiatives to integrate science, technology, engineering, the arts, and mathematics. He has facilitated interdisciplinary projects, collaborative learning, and professional development for students, families, and teachers from Pre-K through seventh grade. In 2017, Chris designed and opened the Grammar School MakerSpace, a creative hub he has overseen and contributed to as a curriculum leader and educator. In 2023, he organized the inaugural MakerExpo at CGPS, showcasing art, engineering, electronics, coding, and robotics experiences for students and families. Chris’s dedication to hands-on, exploratory pedagogy underscores his commitment to fostering innovative and equitable learning environments where students can thrive.

Additionally, Chris has been an adjunct professor at Montclair State University since 2016, teaching STEM/STEAM methods to graduate students preparing for teaching careers. His educational journey began with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre from the University of Southern Mississippi. His initial work in theatrical scenic and lighting design honed his creative talents and ignited a lifelong passion for collaborative creativity, which he brings to teaching. Chris received his Master of Arts in Teaching from Montclair State University, where he was the inaugural recipient of the Richard McGuire Creative Teaching Award. He is also a member of the National Science Teaching Association, the New York Science Teachers Association, and is a certified ICG Instructional Coach. 

Reflective of MKA’s own mission and philosophy, both art and science are integral parts of Chris’s ethos. He believes that his time in the arts has provided him with three universal lessons of leadership: the importance of collaboration and shared commitment, the power of discovery in solving difficult problems, and the role of wonder and creativity in uniting different approaches and disciplines to accomplish great things. 

Please join MKA in welcoming Chris to our community.