Christine Mytko

Fifth and Seventh Grade Science Teacher

Cris Mytko has a B.S. in the teaching of biology from the University of Illinois, an M.S. in advanced education from Northwestern University, and is pursuing a master’s degree in public health from UC Berkeley (May 2023). She is a frequent presenter at edtech conferences, science festivals, and maker faires. Cris’s proudest (and tongue-in-cheek) accomplishment is twice winning the Exploratorium’s Iron Science Teacher competition. She spent two summers working with scientists at the Advanced Light Source (ALS) at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory to develop their science outreach program: using 3D scanning, printing, and data visualization. This led to an invitation to the White House Maker Faire in 2014. Cris and her students are publishing a children’s book based on this work (Ev’s Synchrotron Adventure: An Electron’s Story). Concurrent with her time at BPC, Cris has worked as a curriculum developer at the Lawrence Hall of Science’s Learning Design Group, creating NGSS-aligned engineering curriculum. She has also worked as a project coordinator for the CDC Foundation – developing public health curriculum for STEM teachers using COVID-19 data – after twice being selected to be a CDC Science Ambassador. Cris heads up BPC’s Maker Club, Improv Club, and the First Tech Challenge (FTC) Robotics team. Outside of school, Cris serves as a CASA (Court-Appointed Special Advocate) to help advocate for foster youth in Alameda County. She has a special affinity for fish mummies, 3D printers, bicycles, chickens, and teaching adult and family improv classes. She joined the Black Pine Circle School faculty in 2007.

Teaching Since





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Why I Work with Children

I enjoy teaching middle school, specifically, as we support students in developing from children into their more independent, young adult selves. Kids provide a constant stream of inspiration towards innovation, as their reaction to any idea is, “We could totally do that!”

A Favorite Book

Creative Confidence by IDEO founder and Stanford creator David Kelley and his brother Tom Kelley, IDEO partner. It explores ways to unleash the creativity that lies within every one of us–I find it very inspiring!

Quick Fact

Mad for AR, VR, improv and chickens

Other Faculty for This Grade

Aïda Garcia-Pons

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Aïda attended the same elementary school as opera tenor Josep Carreras.

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Anatoliy Gulimovskiy

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Played soccer on a Zambian teacher team

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Andra Marziano

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Apollo Papafrangou

Sixth Grade Socratic Seminar Teacher, Upper School Assistant

I’m a published author.

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Brennan Fischer

Fifth Grade Assistant Teacher

Brennan is a Black Belt in Okinawan Karate and Kung Fu.

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Brett Hollingshead

Upper School Physical Education Teacher

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Carla Rodea

Upper School Spanish Teacher

I speak several languages.

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Cassie McFall

Upper School Assistant

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Cheryl Sumsion

Fourth-Sixth Grade Music Teacher

Tamed a mechanical bull in Nashville, Tennessee.

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Cloe Monleon

Upper School Spanish Teacher

I’ve traveled to five continents & only learned to speak English in my late 20s.

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Gerry Branner

Upper School Physical Education Teacher & Athletic Director

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Jerry Kennedy

Seventh and Eighth Grade Music Teacher, Band Director

Performed music in South Africa during the end of legal apartheid.

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Kathy Henderson

Sixth & Seventh Grade Math Teacher

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Kim Livingston

Lower School Art Teacher

Started clowning at age 9

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Marcelo Vaz

Seventh Grade History Teacher, Upper School Director of Outdoor Education

Rode a camel through the Sahara

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Michael Feferman

Lower School Physical Education Teacher

Has developed a secret pizza sauce

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Nataliya Vdovychenko

Upper School Assistant Teacher

Fluent Russian speaker

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Nicole Lockwood

Kindergarten-Fourth Grade Science and Garden Teacher

Apprenticed at the National Theater of Croatia

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Rebecca Caine

Upper School Art Teacher

I scuba dive!

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Rem Djemilev

BPC String Orchestra Leader

Creates musical arrangements for fun

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Sarah Roggero

Upper School Spanish Teacher

My birthday is April 1st, no joke!

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Stephanie Piper

Seventh Grade English Teacher

Obsessed with the Salem witchcraft trials

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Torin Coffino

Fifth Grade Head Teacher

Played Gaelic Football as a youth, and won a Minors championship in Ireland

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Xiaoyan Xu

Fifth-Eighth Grade Mandarin Teacher

Once ate deep-fried silkworms

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Zina Gulimovskaya

Seventh Grade Math Assistant, Math Team Coach

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