March-April 2017 Life Changer: Rick Rexroth
He has a familiar face, even a familiar voice, and his history with Hopkins Public Schools is as timeless as they come. Rick Rexroth, popular social studies teacher at Hopkins High School, has been shaping the course of the District since the 70s when he was just a youngster at Glen Lake. The proud Royal grad (Class of 1990) always had the goal of teaching in his home district, and for the last two decades he’s been making his mark on Hopkins students and staff.
“I know the District and the people who live here,” Rexroth said. “We have a wonderful, supportive community that has given us facilities and technology that can rival anyone. I am blessed to be a part of this.”
Rexroth’s passions are kids and history. As an advanced placement history teacher, he is reimagining how students learn about the past. His units encompass a detailed background of 19th century Russia, and are also an opportunity for him to put on his fuzzy ushanka hat and beard for dramatic effect. As the BOOST speaker series coordinator, he provides a platform for students to interact with professionals in a variety of career fields. And if you’re fortunate enough to play lunchtime trivia with him, he’ll bestow years of knowledge, all in a British accent.
“He’s a passionate cheerleader for Hopkins Public Schools,” said colleague John Unruh-Friesen.
His Hopkins résumé goes well beyond the classroom. He was instrumental in creating Royal Opportunity Day, an event for fifth- and sixth-grade students to experience a day in the life of a high schooler. He oversaw construction of the high school auditorium, FACS labs, and dining room. He also coached baseball and football and announced at basketball games for 20 years.
“I have known Rick since he was a student here,” said digital learning coach Terri Osland, who was a student around the same time. “And what has never changed about him is his passion for Hopkins. He has funneled his passion by creatively spearheading opportunities to continually improve the District offerings. I really respect him for taking a great community and making it even greater.”
What do you love most about working at Hopkins Public Schools? In sixth-grade, I wrote a paper about being a teacher. In ninth-grade career day, I wrote about being a Hopkins teacher. In college, I set a personal goal to be in the Hopkins schools full-time by 30, and I achieved that at age 25. I am doing what I want to do, where I want to do it.
Proudest moment? Teaching advanced placement classes is wonderful for so many reasons. We have so many talented students. Some of the most memorable moments have come from helping students improve and excel when they did not think they could be successful.
Teaching philosophy? Enjoy what you do and have fun. I take my job seriously, but I do not take myself seriously.
Stats: • Hopkins High School alumni; B.A. in social studies education and psychology, St. Olaf College; teaching and technology certificate, Hamline University; M.A. in education in progress, Hamline University.