Nick Nohner & Chris Bartlo: 2016 Allen Distinguished Educator


Educators: Nick Nohner, Chris Bartlo
School/District: Wilson High School
Location: Portland, OR


Nick has discovered that in computer science courses, learning will only progress if students buy into the material as both worthwhile and engaging. To achieve this, he believes in showing students early success and builds upon that confidence to achieve tasks that are relevant to them. Further, he tries to make his courses flexible enough so that students can still learn the same material, but choose their own route for learning. For each standard Nick has several options of games or problems that the students can make or solve. This “menu” of problems decreases frustration, allows natural differentiation, and has ultimately been one of the most effective tools in increasing student motivation and retention.

To keep his classroom content relevant to his students, Nick works to truly listen and take action on their feedback in terms of classroom activities and course content. This pushes him to model the behavior of lifelong learning which is one of best traits he could wish to pass on to his students.

Nick went to college at Gonzaga University and has a Master’s in Incorporating Technology into High School Curriculums. He recently moved to Portland from Maui and has enjoyed the transition, though it is understandably tough during the winter. He looks forward to learning more programming of hardware and would someday like to publish an app.


Chris Bartlo teaches computer science at Wilson High School in Portland, Oregon. He believes that having some basic programming exposure is an essential life skill in our day and age. If teachers are trying to prepare their students for the kinds of careers that are going to be out there in 5-10 years, then they are increasingly seeing that the world is becoming more data-driven and analytical in every single field. So even if one of his students isn’t going to become a career programmer/engineer/analyst, he knows that they are going to have to interpret, present, use and communicate with these types of people and the better base they have the more successful they will be.

The computer science field has this wonderful combination of process-based thinking: logic, planning, organization and tremendous creativity. Chris can’t think of a single discipline that a student can pursue later in their life where these skills won’t benefit them in very concrete ways. Working with students is remarkably rewarding and he is thankful that he made the transition to the classroom. Chris strives to create an inclusive environment that puts students in charge of their own learning.

Chris is passionate about spreading computer science throughout the K-12 space. He works with, Oregon CSTA and numerous state and local initiatives to give young people more opportunities to code. Recently Chris has been involved with doing coding professional development for K-5 teachers. In his spare time Chris collects degrees (he has two undergraduate and three masters across a wide range of subjects) and he spends time with his wonderful family. In the summer you can find him on the river or at a music festival and in the winter you can find him on the slopes!

View Nick and Chris's Video Microdocumentary | View Nick and Chris's DIY Guide: Coding Cultural Understanding | View Chris Bartlo's Roadmap on: Using a Proficiency Grading System | View Nick Nohner's Roadmap on: Motivating Every Student to Reach Proficiency