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Kristen Dowling, chemistry teacher at Carnahan HS, wins Educator of the Year

Saint Louis Public Schools honors the secondary science teacher for challenging the students, but also nurturing them
Credit: Saint Louis Public Schools
From left: Carnahan High School of the Future Principal Jonathan Griffin, Districtwide Educator of the Year Kristen Dowling and Saint Louis Public School District Superintendent Dr. Kelvin R. Adams

ST. LOUIS — Chemistry teacher Kristen Dowling was named the 2020-21 Saint Louis Public School District overall Educator of the Year in a surprise ceremony at Carnahan High School of the Future on Thursday.

District Superintendent Dr. Kelvin R. Adams made the announcement and presented a plaque to Dowling, who will compete for the 2022 Missouri Teacher of the Year award on behalf of SLPS.

Dowling teaches general and honors chemistry, along with the Project Lead the Way Biomedical Science Pathway.  

“She really creates an atmosphere that makes it exciting to learn,” said Carnahan Principal Jonathan Griffin. “She challenges the students, but she also nurtures them. Her No. 1 priority is social-emotional — supporting the whole child ... She makes science fun. I go into her classroom for a seven- to 10-minute observation and look up, and I’ve been there 25 minutes!

“The students know that relationships are No. 1 for her, so once she establishes that relationship, they really trust her and can learn and be vulnerable. Mistakes are made, but learning never ends.”

Dowling earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Yale University and a master’s in secondary education from the University of Massachusetts – Boston. She taught for a year in Boston before moving to St. Louis.

The mission of the district’s Educator of the Year Program is to honor, promote and celebrate excellence in the teaching ranks. The district strives to acknowledge the people behind some of the most robust learning experiences and rewards them through a public celebration and year-round career progression opportunities to scale impact across classrooms and/or schools.

The program is made possible through the generous contributions of the Parsons Blewett Memorial Fund and the St. Louis Public Schools Foundation.

The district announced Educator of the Year winners by subject area last month. All the winners will be recognized at a virtual ceremony on May 12.