Many students at East Valley High School may find it surprising that English teacher Don Krueger, 62, once was a lieutenant in the Army working in a nuclear weapons unit in Germany.
When he left the Army, he thought about going to law school, which brought him to Gonzaga University. Within a year, the program he was enrolled in lost its funding and he needed to find something else to do.
“I enjoyed working with kids,” he said. He earned his teaching certificate and started working in the East Valley School District 34 years ago. He’ll retire at the end of the school year.
He did his student teaching in social studies and English and started teaching at what was then East Valley Junior High. When the district opened Mountain View Junior High, he moved there.
Soon, the district moved ninth-graders to the high school. In the switch, Krueger moved to the high school.
He’s been teaching English there ever since.
One of his duties has been advising the yearbook staff. Its editors have painted their names along the walls and ceiling of the tiny office off to the side of his classroom. He said he hopes the school will leave the names there – when former students come back, they like to look back and see they still have a place in the school.
He’s also been the adviser to the school’s drama department, producing a fall and a winter play each year and overseeing a student-produced play in the spring.
Acting is also something he enjoys himself. He’s been in productions at the Civic Theatre and the West Central Community Center in Spokane. He hopes to do more of that now that he is retiring.
“Acting is ageless,” he said.
When he retires, he plans to see more of the world. He said he became interested in travel when he was stationed in Germany and has taken summer trips here and there. He wants to see South America, the Far East, India and Pakistan.
Krueger is also interested in art and painting, so there will be time for that as well as volunteering or getting a small job.
Watch Lisa Leinberger talk with KHQ’s Dave Cotton about this story
“The sky’s the limit,” he said of his future.
Like many retiring teachers, Krueger said it’s the kids he will always look back upon fondly.
“I’ll miss the kids,” he said, “how they can get excited about learning.”