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Tony R. Kruk
North Valleys High School
Reno, Nevada

I was born and raised in Northwest Indiana where I met my wife to be in high school. Married for thirty six years, we raised two daughters who have been gracious enough to give us three grandchildren to spoil. I earned my BA from Indiana University with a biology major and chemistry minor. While obtaining my undergraduate degree I was given the opportunity to teach introductory labs in both microbiology and anatomy & physiology. This experience made me realize that someday I would return to teaching. Living in a “steel” community I then concentrated on a career in the steel industry. I started my career in environmental analysis and ended up my career in combustion process control. While still employed in the steel sector I went back to Indiana University to earn my MS in secondary education with a concentration in science. Before announcing my retirement from steel manufacturing in 2002; unsolicited, I was offered a teaching position at a local high school. My first year of teaching was in Northwest Indiana only ten miles from where I was born. However, shortly after changing careers, my wife and I decided it was the perfect time to change our geography. Before moving to northern Nevada, I taught for two years at Barstow High School in the high desert of southern California. During my seven and a half years of teaching secondary science, I have taught classes in Intro to Bio-Chemistry, Biology, Integrated Earth Science, Chemistry, Forensics, and Earth Science. I am now in my fourth year of teaching at North Valleys High School in Reno, Nevada. My Earth Science class is a science elective for eleventh and twelve graders. In the present academic year my enrollment in Earth Science has grown to a full five sections.

When I started at North Valleys, I began a quest to develop my classroom into a 21st century interactive environment. My students are now submitting homework via email and performing assessments on a classroom network system built from the retired remnants of our library computer upgrade. For the last two years I have had my second semester students teaching each other by preparing Power Points to facilitate their discussions on Earth Science topics. In the near future my students will be recording self directed digital video components to add to their presentations.

Being a life long learner in science and technology, I have had many opportunities arise in my professional life. Using myself as an example, I try to inspire my students in the study of science. I see Spaceward Bound as a fantastic experience that I can bring back to the classrooms of Washoe County and the Reno / Sparks communities. I am hoping that by sharing my “Mojave” experiences, I can demonstrate that the cooperation of numerous disciplines, represented by a diverse population of professionals, leads to ongoing scientific discovery. Maybe some of my students will lead the next generation in extraterrestrial discoveries.

Outside of the classroom I enjoy traveling to visit my daughters’ families, listening to most all types of music, and singing barbershop harmony.

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Editor: Linda Conrad
NASA Official: Liza Coe
Last Updated: January 2010