Hans Smith

Embark on the extraordinary story of Hans Smith, a proud Crater High School teacher, celebrated in the Achievement Hall of Fame.

Hired at Crater High School in 1985 as a biology teacher, assistant football coach, and head track coach. Hans stayed at Crater until his retirement in 2007.

Hans was one of Crater High School’s early visionaries. He was instrumental in the development of the Rogue Eco-System, a school within a school at Crater High School. He received a national award for environmental education for his innovative approach to linking scientific investigation to English and social studies.

He started the Rogue Eco-Systems Project in the 1988-89 school year, an outgrowth of a general biology class when he was teaching a unit on ecology which included a discussion of the Rogue River. As Hans remembers, “Our kids at Crater High School did not have a clue of what they had in the Rogue River. I spent three years, trying to put together a conservation program that focused on the Rogue River.”

The first year they had fifteen kids enrolled in a single class, but this was just the starting point. The second year they maxed out at 104 students in what became one of the first “schools within a school,” at Crater. Hans relates, “We probably had to turn 50 students away.” As a devoted kid advocate, this was a hard decision for Hans. Everything the class did was centered around the environmental sciences.

Hans received numerous awards and recognition during his years as a science teacher and track & field coach. Some of those include Regional Secondary Science Teacher of the Year; OMSI and Tektronix Award for Teaching Science; Earth Teacher /Amway/Time Magazine recognition, Northwest Aquatic and Marine Educators Outstanding Teacher; American Institute of Chemical Engineers High School Teacher Award and Southern Sky Track Coach of the Year. Hans was the Crater High School head track coach for 30 years and, after his retirement, he returned as an assistant track coach for another five years.

Now in his much-deserved retirement, Hans enjoys spending time golfing, traveling, hunting, fishing, and enjoying his family. All three of Hans and wife Susan’s children are Crater graduates. Their oldest son Hans Jr.(1996) teaches elementary school in Medford. He and his wife Karen have one son, Robert. Daughter Megan(1994) teaches at Happy Valley. She and her husband, Jacob have two daughters, Hazel and Clara. Their youngest son Tyler (1999) is a mechanical engineer and lives in Corvallis with his wife Michele and sons Asher and Knox. Their daughter Ella is a freshman at Fresno State University.

Reflecting on his Crater days Hans writes, “I feel extremely blessed to have had so many wonderful years of teaching and coaching at Crater High School. The support that I received from the administration and the community allowed me to teach outside the box and was greatly appreciated.”