SCIENCE & NATURE
Richard Wagner is the nature studies teacher at Hickory Hill Academy (HHA), formerly Kids Express Learning Center. He grew up in St. Louis, Missouri. From an early age, Rich was drawn to a life of adventure and science. Immediately after high school, Rich moved to Belize to follow his passion for exploring nature's wonders. Trekking through jungles, discovering Mayan ruins, and meeting people from other cultures became formative experiences.
Rich pursued his interests at St. Louis Community College, Southern Illinois University, and Murray State University. He worked as a park naturalist for the state of Missouri while developing skills as an EMT on a rescue squad, and he worked in the education department of the St. Louis Science Center, developing curriculum and designing exhibits. Later, as a wilderness guide, Rich oversaw climbing, canoeing and backpacking trips, and traveled extensively throughout the United States, Europe, Central and South America, Africa, and the Caribbean. The position required skills in leadership and management of groups under stress, as well as implementation of techniques developed in a wilderness context. Building on this work experience, Rich and a business partner formed a consulting firm and worked with groups as diverse as Fortune 500 managers and military teams.
After switching careers Rich accepted a position as a 6th-grade science teacher at Forsyth, an elite school in St. Louis, where he might still be contentedly teaching had he not met his wife Danielle. Rich accompanied Danielle to Wisconsin and took a position with the Dane County Humane Society, helping the organization develop its education department. On assignment from the Humane Society, he discovered another very special school – HHA.
When he is not teaching science and nature classes, he continues to pursue his love for travel and adventure. Since joining the HHA team Mr. Rich has visited Turkey, Japan, Panama's Darien Gap, Oman, Jordan, Israel, and Iceland. At school, he finds fulfillment in sharing his love for science, nature, and exploration with HHA's enthusiastic learners. This will be Mr. Rich's eleventh year at HHA. He offers not only a wonderful range of experience to the program but also his great enthusiasm for learning!