Kris Braithwaite

Kris Braithwaite

A native of East Longmeadow, Massachusetts, Kris holds a Bachelor of Science in Biology and minor in English literature from Trinity and a master's in Educational Leadership from California State. In addition to teaching in Choate and Taft’s summer programs, Kris taught biology at the American College of Sofia in Bulgaria, where she met her husband, Rob. The two moved to California in 2013 where Kris taught biology, coached tennis, and was a grade-level dean at the Bentley School. She also taught biology and environmental science while chairing the STEM department at St. Joseph Notre Dame High School.

At Suffield, Kris is an assistant academic dean, teaches biology, coaches girls’ varsity tennis, and serves as a dorm parent. Kris and Rob share twin sons, Grant and Owen.


Where were you born? 
I was born in Springfield, Massachusetts and grew up in East Longmeadow, Massachusetts. 

If someone was traveling to where you are from for 24 hours, what would you recommend? 
Get pizza at The Pizza Shoppe; they are known for their sweet crust. Then, go to Fenway Golf and play some mini golf or hit the driving range, and have some soft serve ice cream.

What do you love about where you live now?
I love living on campus with my family. Sledding and sunsets on Bell Hill, meals in the dining hall, hanging out with students and colleagues in the quad…there is so much to love about living here! 

What is your favorite thing about day-to-day life at Suffield Academy? 
I love how many different things I get to do in one day and how different every day is. 

What is the first thing you do every morning when you get to work? 
Every morning I go to the dining hall and drink a double espresso with oat milk. (I always have plenty of energy to teach first period!) 

Which of your roles at Suffield Academy do you relish the most? 
I love getting to support and help students across all of my roles.

What is something your Suffield Academy family might not know about you?
I have been bungee jumping three times. I’m “retired” now, but if Owen and Grant want to do it when they are older, I may come out of retirement to join them. 

What is your favorite book? 
I love to read, but don’t have an all-time favorite book. My favorite book I read this year was The Gene: An Intimate History by Siddhartha Mukherje, which describes the fascinating history of genetic research. 

What is the one word that you live by? 
Joy. I try to find the joy in the everyday moments. I am lucky to find so much joy in my work and life here at Suffield.  

What is something you believe one can never over-invest in? 
Time in nature. 

What is your favorite hobby? 
I love playing tennis, and last year I started playing competitive matches and tournaments again. It has been a very fun outlet. 

What advice would you give a new teacher at Suffield Academy? 
Know that the rest of the faculty, staff, and administration are here to help you. We have a very supportive professional community here.

What is the most important life lesson for someone to learn? 
Live your life to the fullest. Say “yes” to things and embrace new experiences. 

What is/are your prized possession(s)? 
If pets count as prized possessions, then it’s our two cats, Leo and Raja!

What is your favorite song of all time? 
I love the band The Avett Brothers, and it’s very hard to pick an all-time favorite song from them. My favorite at my current life stage is “A Father’s First Spring.” Ever since becoming a parent, that song makes me cry every time that I listen to it.

If you could have dinner with one person, alive or dead, who would you dine with? 
Jane Goodall. (My husband Rob met her once on an airplane, and I will be forever jealous!)

Who is your role model? Inspiration? 
I will always look up to and be inspired by a former department chair of mine named Kristina Taylor. Kristina was a fantastic biology teacher who cared so much about her students and genuinely felt lucky and excited to go to work and teach high schoolers every day. 

If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go and why? 
I would love to travel to the Galapagos Islands to travel in Darwin’s footsteps and see the wildlife there. 

What is your favorite food? 
Corn-on-the-cob, especially fresh in the summer from a local farm. 

What book is on your nightstand right now?
The Covenant of Water by Abraham Verghese