Krueger honored with Nebraska History Teacher of the Year Award
Jason Krueger has described important details of American history to hundreds of Lincoln Public Schools students during his career.
His name entered the LPS history books Nov. 14 when he accepted a prestigious teaching award.
The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History honored Krueger with the Nebraska History Teacher of the Year Award. Nebraska Department of Education officials surprised him at a Park Middle School assembly. He had been planning a lesson on Abigail Adams when he was asked to come to the auditorium to speak with Park Associate Principal Alyssa Martin.
Krueger opened the door and received thunderous applause from students, staff and family members. His wife Megan and first-grade twins Claire and Jack were among those who greeted him with hugs and smiles on stage.
“I’m overwhelmed with gratitude and appreciation,” Krueger said. “To have my family here means the world to me.”
The New York-based organization presents one full-time K-12 educator from each state and territory with a trophy yearly. It is one of the most significant awards an American history teacher in the United States can receive.
LPS K-12 Social Studies Curriculum Specialist Jaci Kellison and Park Principal Charlotte Everts both said Krueger is well-deserving of the honor.
“It is hard to narrow this down to a short answer, but Jason’s high expectations for students, and his belief that each and every student can think critically about important issues in American history, makes him an exemplary teacher,” Kellison said. “Additionally, his commitment to reflection and growth. Jason is always looking for new material, new professional learning opportunities, and ways in which he can impact not only his students at Park, but teachers and students across the district.”
“Jason is passionate about his subject area and bringing it to life for his students,” Everts said. “He creates a structured and safe environment for his students to learn. He has built a collaborative classroom community where our students are actively engaged in learning and sharing positive feedback with their peers.”
Krueger said his journey to becoming a history teacher was deeply rooted in his family’s love of education. Three of his grandparents were teachers, both of his parents are educators and his sister teaches at Lincoln High. He said he wants to share that enthusiasm for learning with his students.
“History, especially within the realm of social studies, is a captivating exploration of human interaction, behavior and societal development,” Krueger said. “It’s a field that celebrates the complexity of our world and the richness of our past.”
“What drives me is the opportunity to guide students in becoming informed, independent and critical thinkers. I find immense joy in seeing students challenge preconceived notions, delve beyond mere facts and formulate their own unique perspectives and ideas.”
Krueger attended Irving Middle School and graduated from Southeast in 2000. He earned two degrees from Nebraska Wesleyan University before completing graduate school at Doane University. He spent five years teaching in Parachute, Colo., before returning to Lincoln.
Krueger said his primary aim was to help students become history detectives about everything from the Revolutionary War to regional land transactions.
“My foremost goal for the students who enter my eighth-grade classroom is to equip them with the skills and knowledge needed to succeed not only in high school but throughout their lives,” Krueger said. “I aspire to nurture critical thinkers who don’t just accept information at face value, but possess the ability to investigate, analyze and develop their own well-informed opinions.”
“They learn to employ essential historical thinking skills such as sourcing, contextualization and corroboration to evaluate information critically. Moreover, I encourage students to explore multiple perspectives on complex issues, fostering a spirit of empathy and open-mindedness.”
Park students Nyabhun and Abol said they have enjoyed being in Krueger’s classroom this year. They felt his teaching strategies – which include using multimedia tools and connecting past events to the present – have helped them learn. They were thrilled to watch him accept the award.
“It really made my day,” Nyabhun said. “He’s been here a lot of years. He deserves it.”
“I feel proud of him because of how much he does for us and all of the students here,” Abol said.
Kellison said Krueger’s recent participation in a “Teaching with Primary Sources” grant project illustrated his caring approach. He incorporated dozens of historical documents and artifacts into lesson plans highlighting people from many backgrounds.
“Efforts to ensure students ‘see themselves’ in a positive light in social studies classes do not go unnoticed by students, families, colleagues and administrators at the building and district level,” Kellison said.
Krueger will receive $1,000, a certificate of recognition and a collection of classroom resources with his award. Park will also become a Gilder Lehrman Affiliate School. Its teachers can order free classroom materials and enroll in online history courses. The school will also receive unlimited access to the institute’s online catalog of educational resources.
Megan Krueger said her husband wants students to leave his classroom knowing they can make positive history with everything they do. She felt that would be the lasting legacy of his award-winning career.
“We’re just really proud of him,” Megan said. “He’s a phenomenal teacher.”
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Published: November 15, 2023, Updated: November 15, 2023