Chris Holmes is a journalism teacher by training. Holmes helped found a dropout prevention program at a large, suburban high school in St. Louis County. He left two years ago to help found the state’s first private, non-denominational high school for students with learning disabilities.
After nearly two decades teaching a variety of adolescents—those at risk of dropping out, kids struggling with social and learning challenges, and scholars gifted with exceptional intellect—Chris Holmes realized they all had one thing in common: an element of apathy preventing them from fully engaging in the learning process. In 2018, he launched a project to identify the roots of student apathy and to learn what schools could do to minimize it. His phenomenological research study—in-depth interviews with dozens of teenagers throughout the country—is shedding light on how to maximize student engagement, learning, and well-being.
Every June, Holmes moves to the University of Missouri campus to teach at a residential academy for gifted high school students.