Maine Coast Semester

Katherine Curtis

Math Teacher


Katherine Curtis

Growing up in a family of educators where my parents have a combined 95 years of teaching, it is only fitting that I also became a teacher. I was raised as a faculty child on the Hebron Academy campus in western Maine. I grew up surrounded by passionate teachers that I admired for their warmth, curiosity, and dedication. 

As a student at Colby College, I fell in love with geology- in particular, fluvial geomorphology, the study of how rivers shape the landscape. As a child, my family spent our summers paddling the rivers and lakes throughout Maine; now, I was eagerly starting to understand river dynamics and why our landscape looks the way it does. After working with inspiring Colby professors, I was intent on pursuing a career in geology. I continued my education at  Dartmouth where I studied the impact of dams on rivers. I remember frequently pausing while surveying a stream and recognizing how lucky I was to be studying such beautiful sites. My field lab experiences are central to how I approach teaching today. 

After graduating, I joined the Army Corps of Engineers Cold Regions Research and Engineering Lab where I traveled extensively studying ephemeral and intermittent streams throughout the Western US. This provided me with valuable experience understanding how science and government policies interact and, at times, conflict. I used my research to write instruction manuals for local Army Corps regulators to use when assessing stream boundaries. After designing and teaching a course to regulators, I realized that as much as I loved fieldwork, I valued the relationships formed through teaching more. 

I started my career teaching Geology, Environmental Science, and math at Falmouth Academy, a school with a renowned science program. Missing the community feel of a boarding school, I moved to the Dublin School, where I taught math and science. When I saw a job posting at Chewonki, I recognized that this was a unique opportunity. Our place-based emphasis allows me to frequently incorporate real-world scenarios into the math classroom. I have the pleasure of collaborating with math teachers who have a background in science to design unique activities. I am constantly learning from them, my other colleagues, and my students. The small math classes allow me to work closely with individual students, one of my favorite parts of working here.

As a Registered Maine Guide, I spend part of my summer working to educate both adults and students in outdoor skills. I am also a tester with the Junior Maine Guide program. I believe learning outdoor skills is an empowering experience, particularly for girls. At Maine Coast Semester, I cherish watching students’ confidence grow as they develop their skills on backcountry adventures. 

In my free time, you’ll typically find me adventuring with my springer spaniel pups, Kineo and Pemi. I also enjoy baking, quilting, knitting, and reading.

What Brought Me to Chewonki?

My mom always told me that my ideal job would be to teach at Chewonki. As moms often are, she was right! I cherish our close-knit community that unites unique individuals who have a passion for learning and exploring.


B.A. in Geology, Colby College
M.S. in Earth Sciences, Dartmouth College

Select Publications

Lichvar, R., Curtis, K.E., Gillrich, J.J., and Dixon, L.E., 2012, “Testing wetland delineation indicators in New England boulder fields,” US Army Corps of Engineers Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory, ERDC/CRREL.

Curtis, K.E., Lichvar, R.W. and Dixon, L.E., 2010, “Ordinary flows and the stage-discharge relationships in the Arid West Region,” US Army Corps of Engineers Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory, ERDC/CRREL. 

Curtis, K.E., Renshaw, C.E., Magilligan, F.M., and Dade, W.B., 2010, “Temporal and spatial scales of geomorphic adjustment to reduce competency following flow regulation in bedload-dominated systems,” Geomorphology.

Curtis, K.E., 2008, “The Impact of Regulation on Sediment Transport Around Tributary Junctions.” Dartmouth College Masters in Science Thesis.

Curtis, K.E., 2006, “Determining the Hydrologic Seasons and Creating a Numerical Model of the Belgrade Lakes Watershed.” Colby College Honors in Geology Thesis.

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