NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – Among the things most important to Bethel College’s 2015 Young Alumnus Award winner: his family and his professional identity as a science teacher.
Matt Krehbiel, Topeka, is the science program consultant for the Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE), but claims that “everything in my professional life – and maybe my personal life as well – is seen through the lens of a high school science teacher.”
After graduating from Bethel and volunteering with Habitat for Humanity through Mennonite Voluntary Service, Krehbiel spent 10 years teaching high school biology, physical science, prairie ecology and a variety of other courses at Great Bend and Junction City High Schools before taking his current position in 2010.
That same year, the Kansas Association for Conservation and Environmental Education (KACEE) gave Krehbiel the Award for Excellence in Conservation and Environmental Education for the tallgrass prairie restoration project he engineered at Junction City High School.
Since taking the position at KSDE, Krehbiel has coordinated the Kansas lead team for the development of the Next Generation Science Standards, resulting in Kansas being the third state in the nation to adopt them.
For that effort, and for building collaborative networks of science education stakeholders, he was honored with the Kansas Association for Teachers of Science (KATS) Outstanding Contributions to Science Education Award in 2013.
“The entire focus of the science standards implementation effort is to use this as an opportunity to move our system for science education closer to our vision of what we hope it could be,” Krehbiel said.
He has no plans to give up advocating for the profession of science teaching any time soon, and is “hopeful that teachers will rise and find their voice.”
Krehbiel is a 1999 summa cum laude Bethel graduate in biology and natural sciences with secondary teacher certification in general science, biology, chemistry and physics. He earned an M.S. in curriculum and instruction from Kansas State University in 2006.
At the state level, Krehbiel serves on the board of directors for the Kansas State Science and Engineering Fair and as an ex-officio member of the boards for KACEE and KATS. Nationally, he is president-elect of the Council of State Science Supervisors and a member of the Board on Science Education for the National Academy of Science.
When, as he said, “I’m not obsessing about science education,” Krehbiel enjoys spending time with his family, especially spouse Katherine Harder and daughter Ari, and his parents, Myrna and Randy Krehbiel of North Newton.
Krehbiel also finds recreation through construction work, felling trees that are near houses and/or power lines, playing Ultimate® Frisbee® and making music.
The Awards Committee of the Bethel College Alumni Association names one or more Young Alumnus Award winners each year. The Young Alumnus Award recognizes character and citizenship, achievement or service rendered, and honors and recognition received. The recipient must be 39 years of age or younger and present a convocation program for Bethel students, faculty and staff.
Krehbiel will speak in convocation at the beginning of the fall 2015 semester, Aug. 28 at 11 a.m. in Krehbiel Auditorium in Luyken Fine Arts Center.
Bethel College is the only private, liberal arts college in Kansas listed in the 2014-15 Forbes.com analysis of top colleges and universities in the United States, and is the highest-ranked Kansas college in the Washington Monthly annual college guide for 2014-15. The four-year liberal arts college is affiliated with Mennonite Church USA. For more information, see www.bethelks.edu.