2019 Viola Award Finalist for Excellence in the 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, Sixth Grade Liberal Studies,Physics, Geology, Meteorology, Engineering, Astronomy, Outdoor Explorations, 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.
Now at FALA, he is credited with bringing astronomy and engineering programs to the school. Currently, he has helped build and operate a Astrolab at the Museum of Northern Arizona’s Colton Research Center. This Astrolab is a place for amateur astronomers and students to come and learn how to use their telescope as well as share with others. Most recently, he and the FALA Astronomy Students presented “From Earth to Sky, A Binocular Circle” at this year’s City Star Party at Buffalo Park in October.
Krueger began his robotics teaching as a referee and judge and local robotics competitions. He along with Merri Sue Carter, found FALA robotics club. He now offers two engineering classes at FALA; one is Lego Robotics and the other Aeronautical Engineering. Krueger is now in his second year of teaching Engineering Science for CAVIAT at the Fourth Street Campus. This class/FTC robotics team is open to all High School students in Flagstaff.
In addition to working at FALA, he worked as a Field Instructor at the National Outdoor Leadership School.
Krueger was part of a group under Lowell Observatory who traveled to Madras, Oregon to view the rare Solar Eclipse in August 2017. He made it possible for nine current and former students to experience the rare sight with powerful and technical telescopes. There they had their own telescope set up, and demonstrated Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity. Krueger brought a creative array of demonstration materials for students to use, including a trampoline, stretchy fabric, different sized balls, and a fiber optic cable set up to recreate the memorable eclipse.
In 2015, 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 Martian surface, interactive telescope technology displays, Einsteinian Space Time Fabric simulators and air rocket design and performance. This last April, Krueger was awarded the STEM teacher of the year award.
Krueger’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. He is a tireless student as well as educator—a combination that makes him a popular and successful science educator.