When asked about why he chose to become a teacher, Kriss explained that two of his childhood teachers were his leading inspiration. “Mr. Hayes was my first male teacher, and I remember him for his kindness and warm demeanor. Even when I was in high school, I would see him interact with kids and my first grade perceptions were still very accurate – great with kids and made learning fun! My second inspiring teacher was Mr. Mickey. He was my elementary, middle and high school band/orchestra teacher. Mr. Mickey was a very serious teacher. When he would prepare us for musical performances I swear he was thinking that we were the New York Philharmonic Orchestra! He took teaching to the highest level possible and inspired me and my classmates to do our best with music and with life.”
In addition to teaching, Kriss has also served as a summer literacy instructor, a leader on Site Based Councils and on School Improvement Teams. Riverview Superintendent Conrad Robertson explains, “Kriss has always gone beyond the call of duty, demonstrated by his many leadership positions, as well as his service to numerous school and district-wide committees and interview teams.”
For many years Kriss’s hobby during his time off was going to school (outside of school), as he recently earned his doctorate in education. Kriss shares that it was a huge task, however through the process he grew as a learner, a person and as an educator. However, with his new title, “Dr. Fridenvalds,” come some pretty funny stories and comments from his students, such as: “Can you check my teeth for cavities, Dr. F?,” and “Are you going to start wearing a medical coat?” or “Dr. Fridenvalds, that sounds like a mad scientist’s name!”
Mr. Fridenvalds is not only a teacher and a doctor, he is also the father of two children – Kai and Kila, who are in second grade at Cherry Valley Elementary.
Kriss shares, “Having Kai and Kila helps me not only relate better to what it is like being a parent of two elementary aged children and what parents go through (homework, busy schedules, dealing with never ending colds, etc.), but also, my children have broadened me as a person and have been very inspirational to me.
“Through them, I have the opportunity to take swimming lessons AND have also followed in my son’s footsteps and am learning karate. Our goal is to have a Karate Kid and a Karate Dad in our house!”
Kriss truly continues to enjoy the daily interactions with his students. He shares, “Even after a decade of teaching, I still love asking my class: ‘Who would like to have lunch with me today?’ “The kids keep me feeling young. Perhaps this is one reason people often say I look so young for my age!”
Kriss concludes that his most favorite aspect of teaching is most definitely his “clients” – the kids. He explains that his students are what has kept him in this profession for so long stating,” No matter what facet of teaching I am involved with each day, I am always reminded of how my work is positively impacting children; their education, work ethics, safety and even their world view.”