Spring Branch ISD Featured News

Achieving T-2-4: Inspired to drive change in the world, Stratford alumnus Christopher Ehlers joins U.S. Air Force



Upon graduating from Stratford High School in 2002, Christopher Ehlers joined the United States Air Force. Ehlers was inspired by his grandfathers, who were both part of the Air Force, and his desire to serve others and be part of something that drives change in the world. 

Lieutenant Colonel Ehlers has had a successful career in the military and is now commander of an Air Base squadron in Honduras. His days start with physical training and consist of airfield inspections, training, collaborating on heavy equipment that need repairs and discussing humanitarian operations within Honduras and its neighboring countries. 

While in high school, Lt. Col. Ehlers was part of the Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (NJROTC). He notes that Lieutenant Colonel Ken Sluis and Master Chief Petty Officer Mark Heuser, who were part of the U.S. Marines and the U.S. Navy, had and continue to have a large influence on his life, especially when he was an Electronic Warfare Officer in the Air Force. 

“In NJROTC, they both set an example of what a leader should be and how to treat others under command,” said Lt. Col. Ehlers. “They had a meaningful impact on my career, as they allowed me to hone my leadership skills.”

Lt. Col. Ehlers says that while in NJROTC he tried many things and failed, which built his resilience. He still carries the lessons that the program taught him and is one of the key elements that he teaches his airmen: “do not be afraid to try something new and fail, we will debrief the failure and try again.”  

NJROTC is a pathway in Spring Branch ISD’s Career and Technical Education (CTE) program, where students explore citizenship and leadership opportunities. The pathway is taught by retired Navy Marine Corps, Coast Guard officers and enlisted personnel. Through NJROTC, students can obtain technical certifications and if they enlist in the military, they may even receive a pay grade increase after two years in the program. 

CTE provides challenging career pathways for all students, using real world practices and evolving skill sets, attitudes and behaviors. It helps students reach SBISD’s T-2-4 vision, where every graduate attains a technical certificate, military training or a two-year or four-year degree. 

Lt. Col. Ehlers continues to be motivated in his military career by his wife and his internal drive to work to achieve the next steps in his career. He encourages students to find a career that enriches them mentally and physically and to never give up on their dreams when things get hard.

Looking back, Lt. Col. Ehlers is grateful for his experience at Stratford and NJROTC for providing him the skills to succeed. He mentions that he would tell his high school self to always be nice to everyone and leverage Collective Greatness to achieve  goals together. 

Way to go Lt. Col. Ehlers, we are #SBISDProud of you! 

Interested in joining NJROTC? Visit the NJROTC site for more information.