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We at Christ School believe that basic knowledge of science is a crucial part of being an informed and engaged citizen. However, what sets the Christ School Science Department apart is its ability to take that basic science background and connect it to the lives of your sons. The processes of science and engineering take center stage at Christ School. Your sons will be steeped in the scientific method and the engineer design process. The ability to apply the knowledge gained through thoughtful study is the key to demonstrating mastery. Your sons will gain the ability to think critically to solve problems, create models to test their ideas, analyze and interpret data that they collect, and communicate their findings through formal and informal mediums.

In support of them on their journey is an instructional team that is committed to the art of science and not solely to its content. Your sons will find that their science and engineering experience will not only center in the state-of-the-art Mebane Science Center’s 8,500 square feet, but will spill out into Christ School’s 500-acre campus and the community. We believe that the teaching science is a kinesthetic experience where understanding and learning are linked to a partnership between place, teacher, and student. This focus on the process of science and engineering makes for a unique educational experience and one that we are confident in and proud to deliver.

News from the Science Department

Meet the Faculty

James Ballantyne joined the faculty in 2022 as a multi-disciplined educator with a motto perfect for Christ School: “I do not teach science. I teach young men.” 

Mr. Ballantyne is responsible for Chemistry classes and coaches in the Outdoor Program. He has also taught Biology, Physics, Algebra, and Engineering in his decade-plus career. No matter what the subject may be, Mr. Ballantyne keeps student inquiry, engagement, and humor at the heart of every lesson.  

He received his undergraduate degree in Biology from Southeastern Louisiana University and his master’s in teaching from Nicholls State University. A gifted athlete, Mr. Ballantyne owned and operated a wrestling academy for five years before leaning into teaching full-time. He taught at three different high schools. However, Christian Brothers High School in Memphis helped him zero in on the all-boys environment where he felt he could have the greatest impact.  

Mr. Ballantyne and his wife, Jill, have four children, James, Elijah, Mahri, and Selah. 

Matt Cole grew up in the greater Boston area and gravitated to teaching as he comes from a long line of educators.

One of his grandfathers taught Mathematics at The Episcopal Academy in Philadelphia, the other was a college professor at two schools in Massachusetts – Northeastern University and Bentley University. Many of his extended family have followed similar paths.

His family background along with belief in the merits of a boarding school education has served Mr. Cole well as a Science instructor, Outdoor Program coach, and houseparent at Christ School.

Mr. Cole graduated from Union College (N.Y.) in 2019 with a degree in Geology.

He spent much of his free time volunteering for multiple organizations throughout the city, which led to him being awarded a Minerva Fellowship by Union. This fellowship is given to a select group of graduating seniors to partner with non-profit organizations in the global south. He worked with The Samburu Project to help drill water wells for local populations in Samburu County, Kenya, where he lived for nearly a year.

Mr. Cole is an avid outdoorsman, having grown up backpacking and camping in the White Mountains. He also enjoys baseball and basketball, as well as playing the drums. 

Science Department chair Dr. Brent Harris quickly made his presence felt at Christ School.

He was voted 2018-19 Teacher of the Year following just his second year with the faculty and promoted to head swimming coach in 2020. 

During his doctoral work in Astrochemistry at the University of Virginia, where he received his Ph. D in 2014, Dr. Harris was a National Science Foundation Fellow. For four years after that, Dr. Harris employed his research as a principal investigator, commercializing and inventing new instrumentation for chemical sensing. As a result of his entrepreneurial and technical experience, Dr. Harris served as an expert reviewer for the National Science Foundation engineering directorate. 

Dr. Harris teaches AP and Honors Chemistry at Christ School. He and his wife, Robin Pulliam-Harris have three children – Charlie, Kathleen, and Simon. In his spare time, Dr. Harris enjoys choir-singing as well as hiking and running Asheville trails. 

Jack Lynch's love for the outdoors is rooted in the prairies and lakes of his hometown in northern Illinois. 

Mr. Lynch has been at Christ School since 2019, teaching Chemistry, Biology, and Environmental Science in addition to his role as a coach in the Outdoor Program. 

Mr. Lynch graduated from Maine's Colby College in 2016 with a B.A. in Biology, concentrating in Ecology and Evolution. Upon graduating, Mr. Lynch presented his original research on habitat fragmentation at the 2016 Ecological Society of American conference.  

After graduating, Mr. Lynch worked as a field botanist with the Bureau of Land Management in Taos, N.M., and later started his career in education as a teaching apprentice at the High Mountain Institute, in Leadville, Colo. From there, he worked as a teaching fellow at the Alzar School in Cascade, I.D., where he paddled with Christ School alumnus Richard Lytle '20. Afterwards, Mr. Lynch completed his master's degree at the University of Virginia where he taught Anatomy and Biology at Monticello High School (Va.).  

Outside of school, Mr. Lynch likes to climb, mountain bike, play board games, and read. 


Hamid Najafi prides himself on being a results-driven, innovative professional with an excellent track record and has brought these qualities to Christ School as a Robotics and Engineering instructor.

Mr. Najafi was named Teacher of the Year for 2021-22. He was a faculty advisor for the new robotics team in 2023. 

Mr. Najafi has taught locally as an adjunct professor at A-B Tech Community College and Blue Ridge Community College, where he won the 2019 Extra Mile Award. His professional experience in engineering and as a manager dates back to 1983. From 2002 to 2010, he worked as a real estate developer, overseeing the construction of one of the first all-inclusive executive office suites in the county. 

Mr. Najafi studied at Clemson University (MSEE), Piedmont Management Institute, and Midwestern State University. He and his wife, Cindy, have been married for more than 40 years. They have two adult children, Dani and Christian.

Every athletic team at Christ School has a leg up on the opposition thanks to Duncan Parham P'13, who just completed his 20th year here. 

Mr. Parham is Associate Athletic Director and his deep background in strength training and conditioning helps prepare Greenies athletes for their seasons. 

Prior to Christ School, Mr. Parham had served as Asheville School's Annual Fund Director. He is a Blues graduate and attended college at Loyola University of New Orleans.

Mr. Parham and his wife, Admissions Department Office Manager Coco Parham, have two children, Ellsworth '13 and Emma. 

No matter where his travels take him, Matthew Williams remains endlessly fascinated with the subject of Physics and connecting science to real-world applications.  

He became a Christ School faculty member in 2022. 

Mr. Williams pursued his B.A. in Physics at Cedarville (Ohio) University, before going on to earn a master’s degree in Science Education from the University of Dayton. He is quite a world traveler, having visited more than 25 countries. Mr. Williams spent five years teaching and coaching at an international school in Singapore. 

He and his wife, Chelsey, live on campus with their son, Judah.