2017 Viola Award Nominee for Excellence in Science Education 

Rich Krueger has been teaching at the Flagstaff Arts and Leadership Academy (FALA) since 2011. He teaches a wide range of subjects including, Liberal Studies, Physics, Geology, Meteorology, Engineering, Astronomy, Outdoor Explorations, Sound Engineering and oversees two award winning Robotics teams. Rich received his Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and his Masters of Arts in Science Teaching from NAU. Before coming to FALA, he worked as a math and science teacher in Klamath Falls, Oregon. Rich says that he has shaped his Liberal Studies experience around “busting myths, hoaxes, urban legends, and pseudoscience.”

Now at FALA, he is credited with bringing astronomy programs to the school. He encourages his students to study the night sky, and has even coordinated after school viewings through FALA’s telescope. He also began the FALA robotics club along with Merri Sue Carter. In addition to working at FALA, he worked as a Field Instructor at the National Outdoor Leadership School.

Two years ago Rich Krueger was selected in a competitive process to accompany NASA researchers on the SOFIA mission. He and his fellow educators took flight alongside scientists on NASA’s flying observatory. The Thompson/Krueger team was just one of 14 chosen from a highly competitive, nationwide field of educators. Each team of ambassadors had the opportunity to work with a professional astronomer and experience airborne astronomical research first-hand. Afterward, the participants brought what they had learned back to their schools and communities.

His students take great pride in creating  engaging and interactive experiences for more than 2000 visitors each year for the Flagstaff City STEM celebration in the spring held at the NAU dome. FALA students believe in putting the Arts in STEM to create a balanced STEAM educational experience. Students have created erupting volcanoes, radio controlled robots exploring the Marian surface, interactive telescope technology displays, Einsteinian Spacetime Fabric simulators and air rocket design and performance.

This year students are preparing an interactive educational experience to prepare the general public for the total solar eclipse in August.

Rich’s enthusiasm for discovery is contagious and the lessons explored in his classroom always spill out onto the campus and into the community in delightful and creative ways. Rich is a tireless student as well as educator—a combination that makes him a popular and successful science educator.


AZ Daily Sun Article (FALA robotics)

FALA Robotics Facebook Page

Flagstaff Stem City Stories

AZ Daily Sun Article (SOFIA Airborne Astronomy Ambassadors)