2020-2021 Lenape District Teacher of the Year
Nathan Knauss, a technology teacher at Cherokee High School, is the Lenape Regional High School District’s Teacher of the Year. Earlier this year, Knauss was recognized as Cherokee’s Teacher of the Year, where he has taught for the past 12 out of his 13 total years as an educator. He also has served as LRHSD’s FIRST Robotics Advisor for the past 12 years.
Cherokee High School Principal Donna Charlesworth described Knauss’ classroom instruction as a “specialized craft” that is “thoughtful, calculated, challenging and engaging.” She acknowledged his ability to engage students in self-directed learning, providing just the right amount of support, to help them meet his high expectations and gain a mastery of content that often is highly complex.
Knauss teaches Electronics Technology 1 and 2 courses, as well as courses in the school’s Project Lead The Way (PLTW) program. These technology electives allow students to jumpstart career pathways in STEM and begin working toward educational requirements for those careers while also attaining key competencies such as critical thinking and problem solving.
Knauss stresses the importance to all of his students to become responsible digital citizens. “I always demonstrate how to look up answers and how to validate that the information comes from trusted sources,” said Knauss. “Those lessons serve students well as they go on to college, enter the workforce and use technology to support lifelong learning.”
Charlesworth also commended Knauss’ support of students through his involvement in extra-curricular activities, classifying his dedication to the STORM Robotics team as “nothing short of inspirational.” Knauss co-founded the district’s robotics team in 2008, involving both Cherokee and Lenape High School students in FIRST Robotics competitions. The team has become nationally recognized, winning FIRST district and regional championships, and competing at Worlds in 2018 in Detroit, where it took home the Gracious Professionalism Award.
Knauss’ success with STORM Robotics was recognized by the FIRST Robotics organization, which recruited him to mentor new and emerging teams. He has assisted fellow educators and professionals with team management, fundraising and volunteer coordination. FIRST Robotics recognized Knauss’ efforts by presenting him with the 2019 Mid-Atlantic Region Woodie Flowers Award.
Knauss’ role as a mentor with FIRST paved the way for his involvement over recent summer months with the University of Pennsylvania’s General Robotics, Automation, Sensing and Perception (GRASP) Laboratory. For the past six summers, he has worked through the GRASP Lab to immerse himself in various educational outreach initiatives, including organizing LEGO robotics competitions through the FIRST LEGO League, running robotics summer programs for first-generation college-bound Philadelphia high school students, and advising the School District of Philadelphia’s middle school teachers on STEM education lessons.
“The Lenape Regional High School District could not be more proud to recognize Nathan Knauss as its Teacher of the Year,” said LRHSD Superintendent Carol Birnbohm, Ed.D. “Teaching is his calling, not just his profession. This is evident in the way that he challenges himself to stay on top of trends as far as teaching and learning and keep up with the latest developments in the field of technology. He is genuinely passionate about what he is teaching and genuinely committed to preparing his students for success in the next phases of their lives.”
Knauss earned a Master of Education degree in curriculum and instruction, with a concentration in STEM, from the University of Cincinnati in 2016. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in technology education from The College of New Jersey.