Richard Lindstrom came to Arizona as a United States Air Force Vietnam Veteran in 1968. In his first year of service, he began teaching the new recruits electrician skills. He earned a degree in Secondary Education, with distinction (Kappa Delta Pi Honorary Society). His teaching major was in English, with a minor in Humanities (Art History). In January of 1972, he taught Communications, Mass Media & Film Study. He quickly became a Board Member of the Southwest Institute of Film Teachers to assist teachers and students throughout Arizona in developing film study and production skills. He bought a Super-8 film camera with his first pay check to add a film production unit to his Film Study class. The overwhelming student enthusiasm to make their own films ignited a spark of motivation in his students that defined his career!
When he learned that the Tempe Union High School District was forming a committee to consider the possibilities of the use of video to enhance instruction throughout the district, he joined that group and submitted a pilot proposal for a TV Production curriculum and production facility. It became the first state of the art color TV Production Facility in any school throughout Arizona! Our content focus started with augmenting curriculum throughout the district and producing public service programming to service the larger community. During the first year (1978-79), his students won 9 Arizona Media Awards in TV & Radio Production, with one winning a Best 5 Videos in a national competition.
In 1984-85, he taught Art Photography and English at Greenway High School. The Photography elective grew from three to five sections the first year.
In July of 1985 he was offered a position to design and implement a Television Production curriculum and facilities for a TV Production, Performing and Visual Arts Magnet school. The rapid success of the program led to the evolution of a separate Communication Arts Magnet that included two complete TV Production Studios, with the capability of using the full Auditorium for live and edited TV Production while interfacing with the Music, Performing & Visual Arts Students. A Radio Station that narrow cast to the community & state of the art Print facilities were also added. Much of our production provided a service to the larger community. We formed a partnership with KTVW, the Spanish TV station and crewed a daily, morning broadcast news and entertainment show every morning before school started. They were paid interns and we owned a small percentage of the show that went to scholarships for outstanding students throughout all our Magnet students at South Mountain High School. We also became the video sports crew that shot and edited the high school football games throughout the Valley and were aired on the Friday night News for Channel 10. We co-produced a program with KAET on violence reduction strategies being implemented in schools throughout the valley which won an Arizona Associated Press Broadcasters Association award for Best Enterprise News. Our final and largest single service to the community was a series of drug resistance strategy instructional videos that were incorporated into curriculum packets which taught students in elementary school how to avoid drug use. We partnered with the ASU Psychology Department to develop the curriculum and the videos for NIDA, the National Institute for Drug Abuse. This influenced programs to resist drugs at a national scale. It was called “Keeping it REAL”. He won a few Emmy Awards as well from that series.
He had the honor of working with the likes of Janet Reno, Edward James Olmos, Rosa Parks, Stevie Wonder, and cast of the award winning international musical from South Africa, called Ipi Tombi, to mention a few. Many of his student are now working in TV Stations, video departments and film companies throughout Arizona and the United States, for example Erik Yater, Ben Avechuco, Mary Lou Gonzales, Art Trujillo, Magali Rivera, Weldon & Weston Watson, and Gina Santiago, to mention a few.