May 27. 2014 8:11PM

Pinkerton's Harper honored with NH education award

Union Leader Correspondent


DERRY — Known as a passionate and devoted educator, Pinkerton Academy’s Dr. Chris Harper has been recognized by the New Hampshire Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development.

Harper, dean of academic affairs, has been named recipient of the NHASCD’s prestigious 2014 New Hampshire Excellence in Outstanding Leadership Award, also known as the “EDies” award.

The Edies citation reads, “For more than three decades, Dr. Christopher Harper has served as a remarkable teacher, administrator and educational leader, earning the highest respect of the NHASCD Board of Directors and Pinkerton Academy’s students, faculty, administrators, and community members.”

Harper has been at Pinkerton since he graduated from college, spending more than three decades at the high school.

“I was pretty lucky; Pinkerton is a great place,” Harper said of his long stint at the academy. “We have a wonderful group of people here and we try to work collaboratively, which is great.”

He said his interest in pursuing a career in the academic field began when he was still in high school. At the time, he was taking a biology class and was impressed by the teacher’s approach of doing activity and performance-based work within the classroom. Students were required to participate in the learning process, he said.

“The classroom wasn’t just sitting there like little sponges, absorbing the information but was actively building knowledge and understanding,” Harper said. “And that’s what spurred me to go into academics.”

Harper is involved with the curriculum, instruction and assessment at the high school. He helps oversee the course selection process and the transition of eighth graders into the school. The program begins with a Parents’ Night in early January and ends with Transition Day, when incoming freshmen come to Pinkerton so they can become oriented with the school.

He is also known for his innovative work on such successful projects as Pinkerton’s Freshman Academy. The program allows freshmen to attend many of their classes within one building on campus.

Looking to the future, Harper said there are some good aspects of the Freshman Academy that could possibly be incorporated into other classes — sophomores, juniors and seniors —at the school.

“We need to take a look at those things that are positive that are working here in the Freshman Academy and how do we move them out of the classes,” Harper said.

He is scheduled to formally receive the award on June 7 at the EDies celebration at the Center of New Hampshire Radisson Hotel in Manchester.