Robert Krakehl, a physics teacher at Manhasset High School, has been awarded the 2023 Local Teacher of the Year by the Physics Teacher Education Coalition.
The PhysTEC Teacher of the Year program honors high school educators who demonstrate exemplary physics teaching and attended a PhysTEC member institution.
Due to the severe shortage of physics teachers across America, many high schools do not offer courses in the field. The goal of PhysTEC is to reduce the shortage of physics teachers and provide recognition to those currently teaching and the institutions they graduated from.
“I am extremely fortunate to work in a district that supports making physics fun and accessible and allowing me to be the best teacher that I can, regardless of what the day holds,” said Krakehl. “From the administrative teams to the science department and the physics department, everyone is always supportive and willing to try new things.”
Krakehl said he strives to make physics his students’ favorite class every day.
“To be recognized for your teaching and to receive an award for your work is an amazing feeling,” he said. “It also means that people are watching and listening and, most of all, somewhere along the day-to-day things I do, I’m making a difference to people, both students, parents and other physics teachers.”
Krakehl is one of seven physics teachers to receive the Local Teacher of the Year award this year. Each year, PhysTEC member institutions submit recommendations to the PhysTEC selection committee, and one National Teacher of the Year and several local teachers are selected as winners.
As a graduate of Stony Brook University, he was nominated by his Ph.D. adviser, mentor and co-author on several publications, Angela Kelly, who holds a doctorate. Kelly is a professor of science education and physics and the associate director of science education for the Institute of STEM Education at Stony Brook University.
At Stony Brook University, Krakehl earned his Bachelor of Science and his Master in the Art of Teaching in physics and his Ph.D. in science education with a focus on physics access and equity under the advisement of Kelly.
Krakehl is about to enter his seventh year as a teacher in the Manhasset Public Schools in the fall.
The Manhasset Public Schools board applauded Krakehl’s milestone at the recent Board of Education meeting on Aug. 3. Superintendent Gaurav Passi said, “The Teacher of the Year program honors high school educators who demonstrate exemplary physics teaching. We’ll invite Dr. Krakehl to one of our Board of Education meetings in the fall to be recognized and we congratulate him on this incredible honor.”