A world traveler at heart, math teacher Chris DeVeau spent a decade moving around South America before settling down in Florida. While the Sunshine State pales in comparison to her adventures down south, her 23 years at Pine View have made her an iconic figure on campus, beloved by staff and students.
Originally born in Pennsylvania, DeVeau grew up in Killbuck, Ohio. She attended Ohio University, receiving a Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in mathematics and a master’s degree in economics. From the beginning, DeVeau had always loved the subject of math. “It was easy for me and interesting. I just sort of fell into it.” At first, she did not intend to follow the teaching career path, but her parents encouraged her to obtain a teaching certificate.
Traveling to Peru with her husband to visit a friend, the brief visit spurred an unprecedented chain of events in her life. “That was the first time I had been out of the country, and it was just amazing. We decided we needed to go back — not being tourists but actually living there,” DeVeau said.
From there, she and her husband applied to 100 schools, searching for math jobs. Barranquilla, Colombia had positions available for both of them. There DeVeau’s journey in South America truly began, teaching math at several international schools over the course of a decade. After staying in Colombia for three years, DeVeau moved to Guatemala City, Guatemala for two years, then Santiago, Chile, for five years.
Relocating back to the U.S. after having her first child in Santiago, DeVeau was a stay-at-home mother for 10 years. But, one day, her husband discovered an opening at Pine View for a part-time fourth- and fifth-grade math teacher, and she applied for the position.
At Pine View, DeVeau taught every grade level except sixth grade, and every course except statistics and calculus. Since 2012, she has been coaching teams that enter Moody’s Mega Math Challenge, a national competition in which students work to solve mathematical modeling problems. She is also in charge of Florida Math League, a six-question contest consisting of problems from different areas of mathematics. DeVeau helps incoming eleventh-graders with PSAT/SAT testing by hosting summer classes with former Pine View English teacher Dr. Neal Schleifer. Even though she is retiring, DeVeau plans on continuing with the classes.
Over the course of a year, DeVeau values the bonds she develops with her students. “Every year, I get 120 new friends — and I know I shouldn’t say ‘friends’ — but, by the end of the year, there are 120 new people special to me.”
DeVeau also appreciates the relationships she has made with math teachers at Pine View. “It’s like any big happy family. There are times when we all get along, and there are times when we don’t get along. But, we still love each other,” she said.
Eleventh-grader Michael Shi created a video, featuring students commenting on what they value most about DeVeau. “Mrs. DeVeau is one of the most famous teachers, especially in the math department. For years, she has graced this school with the amazing ability to make math not just educational but fun, and it was a real honor to have her as a teacher the last time that she could teach us,” Shi said.
Assistant Principal Jennifer Nzeza will miss DeVeau ‘s presence on Pine View’s campus. “I mean I just love Chris DeVeau. She has a fabulous way of teaching the students. She is very, very precise. She’s very, very clear. She’s been teaching long enough that she has got all of her ducks in a row when it comes to her instruction,” Nzeza said. “… she is just the whole package. So, it is very sad that she is leaving, but it’s wonderful for her.”
Post retirement, Deveau plans on staying active. “I have three children in three different parts of the country. I can go anytime, and that is going to be different for me. I would also like to travel the world and go to other places,” she said.