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Chris Weaver

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Chris Weaver

Asheville - Chris Weaver of Asheville, educator, husband and loving father died on Sept. 20, 2017.

A native of Denver, Colorado, Chris began his career in teaching in Denver and Seattle. He moved to Asheville in 1999 with his wife, Rhett Hudson, and son Aidan, and in Asheville, they later welcomed son Noah. Chris became a beloved and renowned educator at Isaac Dickson Elementary School, Evergreen Community School and Rainbow Community School.

Chris engaged his students, their families, school communities, his friends and family, all with deep love and respect. He created and organized "Capture the Hoops," and other games that brought people of all ages together. He used play, creativity, experiential learning and a loving attitude in the classroom to educate the whole child - intellect, emotion and spirit.

Finding his greatest joy and peace in nature, Chris championed expeditionary learning, leading camping trips for students and their families, and leading school communities in outdoor ceremonies, including commemorative fire circles.

In Seattle, Chris was instrumental in starting Pathfinder, a Native American themed school. Together with Native American leaders, Chris led his middle-school students in building umiaks (sea kayaks) and taking them into open water on a multi-day expeditionary learning trip. Working to bridge racial and cultural differences was a theme of Chris' life and work.

In North Carolina, he led countless friends, colleagues and students on hikes and canoe trips. Chris also was director of the 4-H Camp in Swannanoa for four years and worked at Under One Sky camp.

Chris did not want barriers separating classrooms and the community, and he helped introduce students to everyday "heroes" in the community, and brought the community into his classrooms. Most important, Chris saw and nourished the goodness inside every student - his aim was always to help students find their own individual passions and abilities.

As a result, Chris was selected as North Carolina Charter School Teacher of the Year, and also voted Best Teacher in the annual Mountain Xpress reader poll. He used his standing to speak against funding cuts to the traditional public schools, and to speak out for the value of teaching assistants. In accepting his statewide award, he expressed his admiration for and his debt to his co-teacher, Deidre Barrett.

Chris also worked to bring people together in other ways. As a facilitator, he used the Open Space interpersonal process to help organizations settle internal conflicts and create unifying plans.

In the final stage of his life, Chris authored two books: The Heart of the Canoe: Story, Ceremony and the Transformation of Suffering, a reflection on the umiak expedition with his students and a call to cultural transformation, and an unpublished draft in which he shared his vision for creating humane, equitable, community- and child-centered schools that honor each child and each culture within the school.

Chris' love for his sons Aidan and Noah led to legendary joint projects and expeditions, including long bike and boat trips, winter camping, and 4 a.m. mountain hikes to watch the sunrise and make pancakes in the freezing cold.

Chris encouraged the boys to dream, and he would work with the boys through the night, using his skills, creativity and energy to help Noah bring into reality his ideas of a Halloween dragon costume with giant moving wings, and a bicycle-operated cello. Chris often had a flute or squeezebox in his hands and he helped foster Noah's love and talent for music.

Aidan's filmmaking got paternal support, including booms and set walls Chris built, and all-night help of all kinds during the annual 48 Hour Film Project. Chris drove to Tennessee and convinced a used car dealer to rent him an old Grand Marquis to use as a stunt double in Aidan's video series now in production. Whatever Noah and Aidan loved, Chris loved and supported with all his heart and soul. Chris similarly honored his students' visions and dreams for themselves, and he gave his heart and soul for them, for their families, their schools, and his communities.

Chris is survived by his wife, Rhett Hudson, and their sons Aidan and Noah; by parents Galen and Carolyn; brothers Mike and Tom; beautiful extended family and friends around the country. Instead of flowers, please consider donations to organizations whose work embodies Chris' values and spirit.

A memorial service will be held at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 24, at Olivette, 31 White Rose Lane, Asheville.
Published in the Asheville Citizen-Times on Sept. 23, 2017
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