Alex Kraus is equally comfortable explaining alpha-particle production as he is unpacking the symbolism in Hamlet. As an English and AP Chemistry teacher at KO, Kraus is perfectly suited to this duality, a polymath who studied a wide range of subjects as an undergraduate – from English to economics to computer science and pre-med. “I love that variety, that difference,” he said. “I appreciate being able to use my brain differently and to engage with students differently.”
Kraus loves the natural energy in the classroom and the pursuit of ideas and problem-solving that’s positive and purposeful.
“In science, I appreciate making the material clearer for my students,” he said. “The class begins as a big adventure into the vast unknown, and in the last third of the year, the kids get excited by their own understanding. They can absorb this challenging information now. They have a sense a confidence and think ‘I can handle this. It’s all coming together.’ As an educator, it’s incredibly gratifying to witness that and know that you were a part of the student’s development.”
In his English classes, Kraus engages students in writing essays that are academically and intellectually substantive. “I think the subject has to be real for the kids, especially when it comes to writing,” he said. “There has to be something meaningful and that matters in their lives to connect them to the task. Writing is hard. In order for the students to keep going, their motivation has to be something other than a grade.”
No matter the subject area, Kraus understands the importance of students reaching outside their comfort zone. “Students should know they are expected to grow and calculate what’s coming around the corner,” he said. If they feel that they are stretching throughout the year, they get used to it and gain the skills to grow into the next developmental level.”
In this same spirit, Kraus brings this philosophy to his leadership as a coach as well. “Coaching helps you go deeper into fostering personal skills like character, integrity, and determination in a student,” he said. Recognizing his extraordinary generosity and fairness, The Founders League recently awarded Kraus the M.D. Nadal Sportsmanship Award for 2018. Kraus believes that sports provide an essential pathway for living and learning life lessons: “Here’s how you work hard, here’s how it plays out, here’s how you measure success,” he said.
English, AP Chemistry
Swimming & Diving and Track and Field Coach
Williams College, B.A.
Wesleyan University, M.A.L.S.