About

I learn from and with AP Biology and Earth/space science students at Bloomington High School South in Bloomington, IN, where I live with my spouse and two young children.

My family weathered emotional and financial instability while I was growing up, and I experienced first-hand the way school can be a refuge for students.

In my teaching practice, I am committed to:

  • engaging students in authentic scientific and personal practices,

  • collaborating with students and community members to create justice-oriented spaces and opportunities, especially in co-constructing social infrastructure, and

  • supporting and making public the work of teaching and learning.


I am a National Board Certified Teacher, a Presidential Awardee (PAMEST), a Leonore Annenberg Teaching Fellow with the Institute for Citizens and Scholars (formerly the WW Foundation), and a Senior Fellow at the Knowles Teacher Initiative, where I served for five years as an editor-in-chief at Kaleidoscope: Educator Voices and Perspectives. I'm also a proud member of our state's National Education Association affiliate, and I serve on the Indiana Department of Education's Indiana Academic Standards Science and Computer Science Committee.


I hold a Ph.D. in biochemistry from Stanford (before which I did a Fulbright in Denmark) and a master's degree in teaching from the Stanford Teacher Education Program.


Besides classroom teaching, I have spoken nationally and facilitate professional development on educational topics including scientific argumentation, student-centered active learning in biology, teaching science for justice, environmental and climate education, inclusive biology curriculum, education technology, and writing workshops. I also co-author and edit stories, curriculum, and peer-reviewed articles; see more information below.


Closer to home, I help to facilitate and coordinate curriculum for workshops where teachers from across the country learn more about educating for environmental change from scientists and educators at Indiana University.


Outside education, my interests include parenting and partnering, vegan food, animal representations in art and their ability to spark aesthetic force, running slowly with great enthusiasm, inexpert piano playing, and reading recent fiction and non-fiction.

National awards:

Selected writing and storytelling about education:

Kirstin Milks (2019, January). I am from not knowing when her car will come through the snow [Audio file].

Kirstin Milks (2016). My students and I are ‘co-adventurers’ in learning. In Fraser, James W., et al., 2016. What Made Me the Teacher I Am Today? A Reflection by Selected Leonore Annenberg-Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellows. Princeton, NJ: The Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation.

KD Davenport, Kirstin Jane Milks, Rebecca Van Tassell (2016). Tree-thinking: a response. American Biology Teacher 78:5.

KD Davenport, Kirstin Jane Milks, Rebecca Van Tassell (2015). Investigating Tree-Thinking and Ancestry with Cladograms. American Biology Teacher 77:3.

KD Davenport, Kirstin Jane Milks, Rebecca Van Tassell (2015). Using evolutionary data in developing phylogenetic trees: a scaffolded approach with authentic data (open access). American Biology Teacher 77:4.

Kirstin J. Milks (2014) What I learned from Rolo. Educational Leadership 72:66.

Short-form resume follows; see my full-length professional profile at this link.

Short form Professional profile -- Kirstin Jane Milks