August 11, 2022 |

Aerospace Center for Excellence and SUN ‘n FUN Announce New STEM Educators

Kim Rex
Aric Kroon

Lakeland, FL: The Aerospace Center for Excellence is thrilled to announce Aric Kroon and Kim Rex as the new STEM Educators.

Aric Kroon is an educator with 16 years of experience with Polk County schools with experience teaching Math, Science, and Aerospace. His involvement in aviation began at a young age when he would hear the airplanes across the street from his childhood home near Lakeland Linder International Airport. He was also a member of the Civil Air Patrol.


Kroon started at Sleepy Hill Middle School’s Pre-Aerospace Academy where he immediately fell in love with teaching the subject. As he developed the Aerospace program further at Sleepy Hill Middle School he would take the students on many field trips to explore STEM and Aerospace related places such as NOAA, the SUN ‘n FUN Fly-In, etc. Kroon is well known for his creative classroom artwork and for bringing aviation to life by mirroring airport taxiway signs, runways, hot air balloons, etc (Pictured below). This past summer Kroon taught at our Destination Aviation summer camps and was brought onto the team shortly after.


Kroon expressed his goals to “Expand their [the student’s] horizons” and to “introduced Aerospace to all of the elementary and middle schools so they may recruit kids to go to Central Florida Aerospace Academy as well as expand their knowledge on the diverse options in a career within the aviation industry.”

Kim Rex is an educator with 36 years of experience – 2 within Hillsborough County and 34 within Polk County. Her experience as an educator spans various subjects of Science including Biology, Earth Science, Physical Science, etc. Her involvement within the STEM community outside of teaching Science is working with the Polk County Regional Science and Engineering Fair as the chairperson for the display and safety committee. Rex also works with the Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair on the executive committee for display and safety.


When asked about her goals and aspirations for her new position she states, “To inspire a student’s interest in the aerospace industry and to expose them to different opportunities besides being a pilot. I also want to educate teachers on aerospace and to share that with their students.”

Eric Crump, the Executive Director for ACE, says this about Kim and Aric, “We at ACE are extremely fortunate to be able to add Kim and Aric to the team. Their combined experience and wealth of knowledge will absolutely elevate our educational programming to a whole new level.”

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