Chris Lien

“Growing up a Spud, I saw the immense value of recognizing the gifts within our city and school,” says Chris Lien, Moorhead High School teacher. His experiences inspired him to become a teacher and in 2001, he graduated from Concordia College. Shortly after, Lien started teaching at Moorhead High School to give back to a community that had given him so much. 

Lien is one of nine teachers nominated as Building Representatives of the Year, a peer nominated program facilitated by Education Moorhead. One teacher will be named the Moorhead Teacher of the Year and move on as a candidate for Minnesota Teacher of the Year. 

Lien prioritizes creating safe spaces in his classroom. “I want the students to walk through the classroom door with the knowledge that a weight can come off their shoulders,” he says. “In our classroom, they have the right to feel safe, respected and cherished.”

Shelley Hawley is a co-worker and a parent to three students who had Lien as a teacher. “Each of my children have unique personalities and varying interests,” Hawley says. “However, each one would claim that Mr. Lien was one of their top favorite teachers. He has the ability to reach each student where they are and help them grow. He is respected by so many students because he takes the time to get to know each of them.”

He has taught a variety of classes since he started at Moorhead High School, including literature and composition, journalism, english, film studies, creative writing and more. He also has helped lead and assist with many clubs and activities, including speech, debate, one-act play, the gay-straight alliance and more.

Co-worker Tina Bentz describes Lien as a teacher who brings passion and excitement to the classroom. “This passion defines his teaching style and every student feels it, making them bring their best to the table as well,” she says. “He is innovative and never stops looking for new ways to connect with students and help them master the content.”

Lien is driven by the hope that every student who leaves his room appreciates the experience of being a Spud at this particular time and place. “I wouldn’t be who I am without Moorhead High School and I hope they feel the same way, too.”

Congratulations to Lien for being nominated as Teacher of the Year at Moorhead High School. See below for the other building level nominees.

  • Brandy Haugen, Horizon Middle School East
  • Kristen Hayes, S.G. Reinertsen Elementary 
  • Kelley Larson, West Central Academy
  • Chris Lien, Moorhead High School
  • Michelle Sailer, Robert Asp Elementary
  • Patty Schmidt, Horizon Middle School West
  • Stacy Schroeder, Ellen Hopkins Elementary
  • Joanna Struck, Dorothy Dodds Elementary
  • Brittany Torgerson, Probstfield Early Learning Center