Letter from the Head
May 12, 2023
Dear TREE Community,
I am honored to join TREE Academy as the new Head of School. From the moment I first walked onto the campus, I could feel a spirit of creativity and togetherness. It was alive in the building where student work decorated the walls and spirited discussion was palpable in the classrooms. It was impressive to hear students speak with such enthusiasm and excitement about the things that were important to them.
It is heart-warming to join a community that prioritizes students as individuals, giving them an environment where they can thrive and discover their passions, whether they reside in art, music, writing, engineering, computer science, entrepreneurship, or any other exciting field.
During my initial conversations with faculty, the depth of their commitment to their students and their craft shined through. They emphasized the importance of putting students at the center of everything they do to create a supportive and engaging learning environment. I was also energized by my conversations with parents who have great ambitions for their children and for the school, as well as the motivation to be valuable partners.
TREE’s philosophy and mission is one that resonates with me deeply. I owe the richness of my own life to open-ended exploration and discovery. Having now settled into independent school leadership, I know firsthand the importance of the freedom to explore interests and passions. Now more than ever the world needs schools like TREE with a personalized, enrichment-based approach that equips students with the life skills and autonomy to meet the demands of the world.
In a rapidly changing social, professional, and technological landscape, all schools today must adapt and innovate to succeed. I am eager to collaborate with the Board and faculty to develop and evolve the TREE program to enhance our ability to serve the individual learning needs of our diverse student body.
I am grateful to the Board and Search Committee for bringing me into this critical role at such a vibrant place. I look forward to meeting each and every one of you in the months ahead, to learn more about TREE’s unique community and to work together to build pathways to a bright future.
Christopher Wiebe, Ed.D.
With more than 15 years in independent schools, Dr. Chris Wiebe brings a deep knowledge and innovative approach to educational leadership, with vast experience in curriculum and instruction, culture building, social-emotional learning, talent development, and student-focused, strength-based programming. Before his appointment to the headship at TREE, Chris was the associate head of school at Bridges Academy. His work has also reached educators at other independent schools through workshops designed to bolster teachers’ ability to meet a broad diversity of student learning needs in the classroom. Dr. Wiebe’s leadership approach comingles insight, creativity, and expertise with good humor, empathy, and intellectual curiosity.
In addition to his work in schools, Dr. Wiebe has produced scholarly work concerning national policy for educational technology, technology integration, and strength-based programming. Among his publications are book chapters on strength-based programs and social-emotional learning; a critical discourse analysis of diversity, equity, and inclusion statements at public universities; and an examination of ties between national policymakers and ed tech entrepreneurship. A paper based on his dissertation, which explored barriers between pedagogy and technology integration, was a finalist for an American Educational Research Association (AERA) award from the Technology as an Agent of Change, SIG. He also presents at professional conferences, covering issues such as supporting reluctant student writers, personalized learning as college readiness, and vital characteristics and competencies of independent school teachers.
Chris has a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Pepperdine University, a master’s degree in philosophy and literature from San Jose State University, and a doctorate in education from Cal State, Los Angeles. Before moving into educational administration, he taught English language arts and philosophy, and was grateful when the music teachers let him sit in on band rehearsals. He and his wife Erin have two children, Diego and Esmeralda.