History teacher brings textbook to life to win award

Chad Lundquist/Nevada Appeal Dayton High School teacher Shanna Krueger, 34, talks about receiving the Nevada History Teacher of the Year award Monday.

Chad Lundquist/Nevada Appeal Dayton High School teacher Shanna Krueger, 34, talks about receiving the Nevada History Teacher of the Year award Monday.

It came as little surprise that the books Dayton High School staff gave to Shanna Krueger as a gift focused on American History.

Krueger, a history teacher at Dayton for the past six years and the new Nevada History Teacher of the Year, pulled the books from a gift bag Monday morning as she was recognized at a schoolwide awards assembly.

She was chosen for the award by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, which promotes the teaching of American history.

"I love history," the 34-year-old teacher known as "Krueg" said. "I want to make it interesting for students. It's one of those classes students really can tune out if it's not interesting and just all lecture."

One of the gifted books - "Letters of a Nation" by Andrew Carroll - featured just the type of history in its 200-plus letters penned between 1630 and 1996 that Krueger likes to share with her students - primary sources.

"(Primary sources) allow students to see people as mothers and women and children, and goes beyond just reading about history from a textbook," Krueger said. "It allows students to critically think about history and to make their own opinions."

Krueger, who is known for bringing class alive, enjoys doing Chautauqua - where a historical character is brought to life - and requires it of herself and students.

This year, she role-played Narcissa Whitman, one of the two first white women to cross over the Rocky Mountains and who was later bludgeoned to death by American Indians as she shared her Christian message.

Ashley Cruz, 15, and Jessica Greer, 16, two of Krueger's "Women in History" students portrayed Bonnie & Clyde for their Chautauqua.

"I like the way she teaches," Jessica said. "We don't do a lot of book work. We do a lot of projects. She waves her arms around a lot. She's very animated. She sings on occasion."

Krueger graduated from the University of Nevada, Reno, in 2005 with a master's of arts in teaching and from San Diego University in the mid-90s with a bachelor of arts in history and teaching credentials.

"She's awesome," said Tom Hughes, who occasionally substitutes for her classes. "The kids love her and she loves the kids."

Krueger has taught U.S. history, advanced placement government, u.s. government and economics at Dayton. Four years ago, she started the "Women in History" class, which focuses on the contributions of women to American society. She believes it is the only one taught at the high-school level in the state.

Jessica said it's taught her that women are just as important to men in the formation of the United States - and that women have contributed.

"Like when the men went to fight in World War II, the women took over and worked in factories and produced stuff for the men to use," she said.

Krueger received $1,000 with her award. She is unsure how she wants to spend the money, but has an idea.

"It would be nice to have a laptop because it would give me something to go back and forth with," she said.

Krueger and her husband, Mark, are Carson City residents and have 3-year-old twins named Sabrina and Sebastian.

• Contact reporter Maggie O'Neill at moneill@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1219.


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