(Top Row) Christine Himmelfarb, Christy Gerst, and Robert Ley; (Lower Row) Zachary Hund and Julia Maguire

Lab teachers named UChicago Outstanding Educators 

For more than three decades, the University of Chicago has asked incoming students of the College to nominate teachers “whose guidance has helped them along the path toward intellectual growth.” These nominations are used to recognize Outstanding Educators across the country, and this year, five Lab instructors were granted this student-selected award: Christine Himmelfarb, Zachary Hund, Christy Gerst, Robert Ley, and Julia Maguire.

Himmelfarb, a member of the U-High English department since 2013, is director of the Writer’s Center on campus and has taught at every level of the High School program. Hund joined Lab in 2019 after receiving his PhD in Chemistry from UChicago and currently chairs the U-High science department. As department chair of the U-High history department, Gerst uses her expertise as a lawyer to give students a broader perspective in her AT Comparative Politics & Global Relations and AT Modern European History classes. Ley is a grade 4 teacher who also teaches the popular “Recognize Your Inner Jedi” Extended Day class, which combines creative writing, storytelling, and mindfulness-based practices. After joining Lab in 2007, Maguire has enjoyed sharing the beauty of mathematics with her high-school students.

These teachers exemplify the values the Outstanding Educator award promotes: “thoughtfully approaching instruction, sharing an infectious love for learning, and caring for students both inside and outside of the classroom.” They were recognized at a virtual ceremony for their enduring contributions to their students, encouraging the Lab principles of scholarship, curiosity, creativity, and confidence. "Given the difficulties the high school and the student body endured during our remote closure due to the Covid pandemic," Gerst said, "it is especially rewarding to accept this award and to thank the generously-minded senior who nominated me."

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