2018 Viola Award Finalist for Excellence in Science Education

Rich Krueger has been teaching at Flagstaff Arts and Leadership Academy (FALA) since 2011. He teaches a variety of subjects including liberal studies, physics, geology, meteorology, engineering, astronomy, outdoor explorations and sound engineering. He also oversees two award-winning robotics teams. Rich has been recognized for his energy and leadership both in his own classroom and throughout the FALA campus and beyond.

Rich has been instrumental in developing FALA’s astronomy program. He goes above and beyond regular classroom lessons by coordinating after-school viewings through FALA’s telescope. He also began the FALA robotics club with Merri Sue Carter. Rich is always looking for opportunities to bring science beyond the classroom, and get students excited about these fields of study.

Four years ago, Rich was selected to accompany NASA researchers on the SOFIA mission. In this highly competitive program, 14 educators were chosen to work with a professional astronomer, and get hands-on experience with airborne astronomical research. The fact that Rich was selected for this project, speaks to his outstanding work as an educator, and the experience provided new knowledge and insight to bring back to his classroom.

In 2017, Rich was instrumental in planning science activities for the solar eclipse. He organized a trip to Madras, Oregon with a group of 9 former and current FALA students. The group hosted a free, public star party on the night before the Eclipse. During the eclipse, they carried out several science experiments for public viewing. The most popular being an activity that demonstrates, through direct observation, the warping of space-time outlined in Einstein’s theory of relativity. Students on this trip appreciated the opportunity to learn from the many science organizations also present for the eclipse, as well as the opportunity to share their own knowledge with others.

Also in 2017, Rich began teaching Engineering Science for CAVIAT, at the Fourth Street Campus.  His program offers STEM education through problem-based learning exercises including robotics. This program is available to all Flagstaff High School students.

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