2017 Amazing People
The 2017 recipient of the NYS AHPERD Adapted Physical Education & Sport Section Amazing Person Award is Lisa Santos.
Since 2008 Lisa has taught adapted physical education, general physical education and inclusion classes. She currently teaches at Manor Oaks Elementary School in New Hyde Park-Garden City Park School District. Lisa has presented on topics related to adapted physical education and recreation at Nassau Zone and NYS AHPERD conferences, and at the Westchester BOCES Superintendent Conference. She has served on multiple committees within her district and currently is the Nassau Zone Adapted Physical Education Section representative. Lisa obtained a grant from Nassau Zone to start a recreation unit for students with autism to teach them how to ride bikes and roller skate. In 2009, with borrowed equipment, no real funds or budget to work with, Lisa started and ran the first Camp Abilities Long Island, a 4-day developmental sports camp for children with visual impairments, blindness and deaf-blindness. Lisa is being honored for her passion and hard work to create this ongoing successful program at Adelphi University. It is with great pleasure the Adapted Physical Education & Sport Section recognizes Lisa Santos as their 2017 Amazing Person.
The 2017 recipient of the NYS AHPERD Aquatics Section Amazing Person Award is Diane Hicks-Hughes.
Diane has been with the Lansing Central School District since 1980 as a physical education teacher, aquatics director and girls swim coach. She has been an active member of the National Interscholastic Swim Coaches Association, and this year became the first female president-elect of the organization. She currently serves as the New York State Public High School Athletic Association swimming and diving coordinator, and Section 4 girls swimming and diving coordinator. She has been an instructor and an instructor trainer for the American Red Cross for 42 years, a New York State swimming official for 40 years, and a varsity girls swimming and diving coach for 37 years, as well as a level 3 certified coach with the American Swim Coaches Association. She has several publications to her credit addressing aquatic sports and has served as editor for the "International Journal of Aquatics Research and Education." Diane has received numerous awards in recognition of her many achievements and contributions to the world of aquatics, including ESPN Coach of the Year for Girls Swimming & Diving. The Aquatics Section is proud to recognize Diane Hicks-Hughes as their 2017 Amazing Person.
The 2017 recipient of the NYS AHPERD Coaches Section Amazing Person Award is Joe Stark.
Over the past 29 years, Joe has been a physical education teacher and coach in the Potsdam Central School District. During his career, Joe has coached girls soccer, ice hockey and indoor track, as well as boys' ice hockey, baseball, and golf. The veteran coach has a record going into this past season of coaching 551 soccer games with a 71% win record and 16 sectional titles. In boy's ice hockey, Joe led his teams to 185 wins in 12 seasons, including two trips to the state tournament. He currently has a record of coaching 223 girl's ice hockey games with an impressive 79% win record, and has won three championships. Joe spent 11 years as the boys' varsity baseball coach, clinching two sectional titles. He is currently coaching golf, along with girls varsity soccer and ice hockey. Aside from Joe's coaching career, he spent four years as athletic director, and was a past section chair for boys baseball and boys and girls ice hockey. Joe spends his spring umpiring both softball and baseball, and officiated four softball and three baseball state championship games. He is very passionate about mentoring young coaches in his district and willingly shares his skills, knowledge and expertise. It is with great pleasure that the Coaches Section recognizes Joe Stark as their 2017 Amazing Person.
The 2017 recipient of the NYS AHPERD Dance Section Amazing Person Award is Maleda Funk.
Maleda received her Bachelor of Science degrees in physical education and dance from The College at Brockport, where she is currently completing her master's degree in adapted physical education. Maleda is an accomplished dancer and was the Ulster Ballet Company rehearsal director & soloist in 2016. She attended SUNY Purchase Dance Conservatory and completed intensive studies with the San Francisco Conservatory of Dance, the Bolshoi Ballet Academy in Moscow, the Boston Ballet, the Gelsey Kirkland Ballet, and the New York State Summer School of the Arts Ballet. Maleda was a dance instructor for the Sweden-Clarkson Recreation Center in Sweden, New York, and a ballet instructor for the University of Rochester's Ballet Performance Group. She is an active member of the NYS AHPERD Dance Section, and has presented at state and Western Zone conferences. While an undergraduate at SUNY Brockport, Maleda was president of the Physical Education Majors Club. She is a member of SHAPE America and in 2016, received the Ruth Abernathy Presidential Scholarship. It is with great pleasure the Dance Section recognizes Maleda Funk as their 2017 Amazing Person.
The 2017 recipient of the NYS AHPERD Elementary/Middle School Physical Education Section Amazing Person Award is Teresa Gendron.
Terry has taught elementary physical education at Abram Lansing Elementary School in Cohoes for 24 years, and recently accepted a new position within her district at Cohoes Middle School. Terry has implemented quality activities for elementary and middle school students, such as, "Bike/Hike Path," "Beautification Day," Radio Disney's Get Moving Challenge, and a Turkey Trot. She is the coordinator for the American Heart Association 'Great Replay' and Jump Rope for Heart events. Terry has been an active member of NYS AHPERD for many years, and was honored to receive the Jay B. Nash Outstanding Major Award in 1987. She serves as the Capital Zone president, has been the Capital Zone conference co-chair since 2014, and is a member of the Sandra G. Morley Student Leadership Committee. On the state level, Terry serves as a member of Mascot Committee, Get Moving New York Committee, Advocacy Committee, and is a trainer for the Curriculum and Assessment Guidance Document: A Physical Education Resource. In June 2017, Terry advocated on behalf of NYS AHPERD at ESSA hearings hosted by NYS Education Commissioner Mary Ellen Elia. It is with great pleasure the Elementary Middle School Section recognizes Terry Gendron as their 2017 Amazing Person.
The 2017 recipient of the NYS AHPERD Future Professionals Section Amazing Person Award is Rod Mergardt.
Rod's 54-year career in the field of education as a teacher, coach, administrator, advocate and mentor can be characterized by the following words: hardworking, dedicated, knowledgeable, loyal, understanding, considerate and successful. For the past 20 years, Rod has been a supervisor of student teachers for SUNY Cortland. He is an enthusiastic guide to each of the student teachers he works with, always encouraging them to reach their fullest potential as young professionals. His service to the NYS AHPERD has been diverse, from committee member and president of the Southeastern Zone to association president and member of the Board of Directors. Rod has played a significant role in the Future Professionals Section by providing mentorship to section members without hesitation. His support and commitment to the Future Professionals Leadership Conference has enriched the lives of many emerging teachers. Rod's quiet, honest, positive, and unselfish approach to leadership have been an invaluable asset to his colleagues and the students he has mentored. It is with great pleasure the Future Professionals Section recognizes Rod Mergardt as their 2017 Amazing Person.
The 2017 recipient of the NYS AHPERD Health Education Section Amazing Person Award is Charlie Rizzuto.
Charlie is a health and physical education teacher at Oyster Bay High School and an adjunct professor at Adelphi University. He is the creator, producer, contributor and host of the HPE Quick Tips Podcast, where he shares tips for health and physical education teachers in every episode. He has his own teacher resource website RizzutoEducation.com, has been featured on the Physedagogy Podcast, and regularly shares ideas on Twitter. He has written numerous articles for Physical and Health Education America newsletter and has a chapter to his credit, "Lesson Planning For High School Physical Education" for Human Kinetics. Charlie is an active member of the Nassau Zone and currently serves as their president elect, newsletter editor, Future Professionals representative and a member of the Membership Committee. In service at the state level, he is a member of the Middle & Secondary Physical Education Teacher of the Year Awards Committee, and has presented numerous times at conferences. Charlie was honored in 2016 with the Nassau Zone Secondary Physical Education Teacher of the Year Award. It is with great pleasure the Health Education Section recognizes Charlie Rizzuto as its 2017 Amazing Person!
The 2017 recipient of the NYS AHPERD Higher Education/Professional Preparation Section Amazing Person Award is Dr. Michael Norris.
Michael received his bachelor's degree from Central Michigan University and his two masters' degrees and his Ph.D. from Ohio State University. Michael is the Coordinator of the Urban and Inclusive Health & Physical Education Teacher Education program, and the Coordinator of the Coaching Minor at Syracuse University. He is a member of the NYS AHPERD Executive Council serving as the president of the Exercise Science Section. He has been active in the Central North Zone, serving as the Higher Education representative. Michael's research interests include aquatics, adapted physical education, physical activity, pre-school children, and pedagogy. Michael has had articles published in SHAPE America newsletters, Kinesiology Review and the International Journal of Aquatic Research and Education. He serves on the Syracuse University Diversity Committee, the graduate school Teaching Assistant Award committee, and has been a volunteer coordinator for the Festival of Races and the Winter Special Olympics. It is with great pleasure the Higher Education Professional Preparation Section recognizes Michael Norris as its 2017 Amazing Person.
The 2017 recipient of the NYS AHPERD Recreation/Adventure Education Section Amazing Person Award is Kiki Seago.
With over 23 years of experience as a physical education teacher, KiKi has been in the Penn Yan Central School District for the past 15 years. She serves on the district wellness team as a volunteer teacher for kayaking and rock climbing, and is also a volunteer strength and conditioning coach for the Lady Mustangs. She helped create and establish her schools Outdoor Adventure Club, and lead the first trip to the Adirondack High Peaks in May 2017. She is an active member of the Central Western Zone and serves on their Executive Committee. On the state level, she is president of the Secondary Physical Education Section and a member of the Secondary Teacher of the Year Committee. In addition to teaching, Kiki is the owner of both Deep Flow Paddle Boards and the Evolve Yoga Studio in Penn Yan. She has been honored with the Secondary Physical Education Section Amazing Person Award and the Central Western Zone Secondary Teacher of the Year Award. It is with great pleasure the Recreation/Adventure Section recognizes Kirstjan "Kiki" Seago as their 2017 Amazing Person.
The 2017 recipient of the NYS AHPERD Retirees Section Amazing Person Award is Sandra Morley.
Sandy was a physical education teacher for 25 years before becoming principal of Bethlehem Middle School in Delmar. She retired in 2011 and continues to supervise SUNY Cortland pre-service teachers in physical education, while serving as an adjunct professor and scorer for the PK-12 physical education EdTPA. Sandy has been an active member of NYS AHPERD for decades serving as president in 1996, a member of the board of directors for nine years, five of which she served as board chair. Additionally, her leadership includes participation on the committee that produced the NYS AHPERD advocacy video. She is the retirees' representative for the Capital Zone, and was a guest lecturer for the Dr. Ron Feingold Lecture Series. Currently, Sandy serves as president of the NYS AHPERD Foundation. She has received numerous awards including the NYS AHPERD Distinguished Service Award, the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance Pathfinder Award, and the Eastern District Association Merit Award in recreation. Sandy is a member of the Mamaroneck High School Athletic Hall of Fame and the SUNY Cortland "C" Club Hall of Fame. The Retirees Section realizes that "on paper" Sandy may be retired from teaching, but she will NEVER be retired from NYS AHPERD. It is with great pleasure that the Retirees Section recognize Sandy Morley as its 2017 Amazing Person.
The 2017 recipient of the NYS AHPERD Secondary Physical Education Section Amazing Person Award is Tracey Engel.
Tracey has been a physical education teacher for 24 years and currently teaches at the Jordan Elbridge High School. She is actively involved in her school serving as the Hoops for Heart coordinator, Varsity Club advisor, Community Fitness Center supervisor, and is a member of the Site Based Team, Summer Curriculum Committee and Professional Learning Community. Tracey coaches modified sports teams to help introduce students to the world of interscholastic athletics. She stays involved with her students out of school as a member of the sports boosters and by attending their games, plays, dance recitals, marching band and color guard shows. In service to NYS AHPERD, Tracey has been an active member of the Central North Zone and has presented at zone conferences. She was honored as the recipient of the Central North Zone Secondary Teacher of the Year Award earlier this year. It is with great pleasure that the Secondary Physical Education Section recognizes Tracey Engle as their Amazing Person.
The 2017 recipient of the NYS AHPERD Technology Section Amazing Person Award is James Rose.
Jim is the director of health, physical education, and athletics for the Yonkers Public Schools and is an adjunct professor at Teachers College, Columbia University. He is a certified instructor for the State Education Department coaching courses and first aid and CPR courses, as well as the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Leadership Training courses. Jim has consulted on and served as an expert witness on a variety of areas related to health, physical education, recess and athletics. He serves as the Public High School Athletic Association co-coordinator of modified athletics and represents Section 1 as chair of the NYS Safety Committee. He is an active member of NYS AHPERD, currently serving as association past president. He has also served as president of the Council of Administrators Section and is chairman of Handbook Committee. At the Zone level he is the Southeastern Zone Council of Administrators representative. While president of NYS AHPERD, Jim initiated the creation of the Technology Section, which has officially become the 14th Section of the Association. It is with great pleasure the Technology Section recognizes Jim Rose as its 2017 Amazing Person.
The 2017 recipient of the NYS AHPERD Capital Zone Amazing Person Award is Ashley Chapple.
Ashley teaches physical education at Albany High School and is their Health & Physical Education Building Curriculum Team Leader. She is a board member for the Albany Fund for Education and president of the Albany Junior Lady Falcons Corporation, which provides girls the opportunity to play competitive basketball. Ashley has provided professional development to her colleagues on how to integrate technology into their classrooms. She assisted with getting her high school physical education department projector carts and iPads for this school year. She chaperoned four girls from the city of Albany with the Police Athletic League to the Republic of Georgia to play basketball and teach the local organization about the impact of the league on the community. Her master's thesis was titled, The Experiences of Black Women Coaching Division I Basketball. In service to NYS AHPERD, Ashley has presented for the Capital Zone and at several state conferences. Ashley was inducted into the Police Athletic League Hall of Fame in April of this year. It is with great pleasure the Capital Zone recognizes Ashley Chapple as their 2017 Amazing Person.
The 2017 recipient of the NYS AHPERD Catskill Zone Amazing Person Award is Tami Coney.
Tami has been an elementary physical educator for 26 years in the Monticello Central School District, and is currently a member of the District Wellness Committee and the Assessment and Grading Council. Tami was a born organizer and started a 'Fuel Up to Play 60' program, a 'Mighty Milers' program, a morning running club, and initiated a monthly 'Make it Awesome' award in collaboration with an art teacher to provide students with a field trip to the Bashakill Wildlife Management Area, where they paint and hike. Tami has organized successful fundraisers for the American Heart Association Jump Rope for Heart, a schoolwide fundraiser for the Juvenile Arthritis Walk, and has received grants for equipment for her physical education and recess programs. Tami has served as an adapted physical education teacher for the Hebrew Academy for Special Children Camp, the Center for Discovery and the Medina YMCA. Tami was honored with the Board of Education Recognition Award and for two consecutive years, the Make it Awesome Award. It is with great pleasure the Catskill Zone recognizes Tami Coney as their 2017 Amazing Person.
The 2017 recipient of the NYS AHPERD Central North Zone Amazing Person Award is Dr. Tamela Ray.
Tam works in the Auburn Enlarged City School District as director of health, physical education and athletics. She was successful in writing and implementing a $438 thousand dollar Carol M. White Grant. Tam serves on the District Wellness Committee, and is the vice president of the Auburn administrators Association. She is active in the Public High School Athletic Association, currently serving as Section III president. She is also active in the Central North Zone serving on the board of directors, a member of the awards and conference committees and is the Council of Administrators representative. At the state level she has served the Council of Administrators Section as treasurer and executive committee secretary, she was a member of the NYS AHPERD board of directors and member of the Elementary Physical Education Teacher of the Year Awards Committee. Tam has been honored to receive the NYS AHPERD Professional of the Year Award, the Council of Administrators Physical Education Director of the Year Award and the Central North Zone Director of the Year award. It is with great pleasure that the Central North Zone recognizes Tam Ray as its 2017 Amazing Person.
The 2017 recipient of the NYS AHPERD Central South Zone Amazing Person Award is Terry Hagenbuch.
Terry is a physical education teacher in the Norwich City School District. He is a member of the school's Executive Committee, chairperson of the physical education department and the fitness room coordinator. He also volunteers his time to help the cheerleading team with their strength and conditioning. Terry has coached track, football, wrestling and girls' soccer. He coached back-to-back sectional championships and two wrestlers from Norwich High School were back-to-back state champs. He has been honored with the 2015 Southern Tier Athletic Conference Wrestling Coach of the Year Award. Terry volunteers as an archery coach for the National Archery in Schools Program. In 2015 one of his athletes was an Archery in Schools Program state champion. He has coached archers who have attended the national tournament in Kentucky for the past five years. He is an active member of the Central South Zone and is currently serving as Middle School Physical Education Representative. It is with great pleasure the Central South Zone recognizes Terry Hagenbuch as their 2017 Amazing Person.
The 2017 recipient of the NYS AHPERD Central Western Zone Amazing Person Award is Brianne Blaszak.
Brianne is a physical education teacher at Villa of Hope Youth & Family Services in Rochester. She has served NYS AHPERD as a conference presenter focusing on adapted physical education activities, strategies for teaching students with emotional and behavior disabilities, and she is a trainer for the Curriculum and Assessment Guidance Document. She is a Hoops for Heart coordinator, participates in Get Moving NY video contests, and volunteers as co-chair of a Cookie Crunch 5K. She also shares teaching practices as publishing editor of the Central Western Zone newsletter. Annually, Brianne collaborators with professional sports teams from Rochester and the Greece Police Department to offer community events such as Hoops for Hope fundraisers. She works with the New York State Police Special Operations Response Team and together they created an adventure education unit. Helping balance Brianne's professional and volunteer life, is her desire to run her own race. She has completed three marathons, 27 half-marathons, three sprint triathlons, and she runs races to raise money for the Special Olympics and to raise awareness & funds for people living with Cerebral Palsy. It is with great pleasure the Central Western Zone recognizes Brianne Blaszak as their Amazing Person.
The 2017 recipient of the NYS AHPERD Nassau Zone Amazing Person Award is Bob Kenney.
Bob's career included teaching physical education, coaching, and serving as District Director of Health, Physical Education, Athletics, Recreation and Driver Education. Along the way, he also made significant professional contributions to New York State AHPERD and the Nassau Zone. Bob served as Zone president, treasurer and chair of the Bylaws Committee. At the state level, he served for 6 years as a member of the board of directors and for 10 years chaired the Conference Site Selection Committee. Bob was honored to receive the NYS AHPERD Retiree Section Award and the Distinguished Service Award. Perhaps the most amazing fact about Bob is his record of longevity with NYS AHPERD. He has been a member for 57 years, attended 53 state conferences; the last 23 in a row. He has been a member of the Nassau Zone Executive Council for 31 years, and has been the Nassau Zone Conference chair for 25 years. His untiring effort and dedication are recognized, admired and deeply appreciated. It is with great pleasure the Nassau Zone recognizes Bob Kenney as their 2017 Amazing Person.
The 2017 recipient of the NYS AHPERD New York City Zone Amazing Person Award is Srecko Mavrek.
Srecko is a physical education teacher at the Theodore Roosevelt Educational Campus in the Bronx. His lessons provide students with the knowledge and skills to understand healthy nutritional habits, energy expenditure and the connections between exercise and good health. He implemented the curriculum "100% Me" which teaches students decision-making strategies and the six pillars of character ~ trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship. He uses multidisciplinary lessons that integrate physical education, health, mathematics, science and the arts. Srecko is an American Red Cross water safety instructor, a CHAMPS, which stands for Cooperative, Healthy, Active, Motivated, Positive Students swim coach and a Special Olympics NY soccer coach. In service to NYS AHPERD, Srecko served as president of the New York City Zone and president of the Exercise Science/Sports Medicine Section. He has been honored with the NYS AHPERD and Eastern District Secondary Physical Education Teacher of the Year Award, the Exercise Science/Sports Medicine Section Amazing Person Award, and the National Service Award from the Council for Aquatic Professionals. It is with great pleasure the New York City Zone recognizes Srecko Mavrek as their Amazing Person.
The 2017 recipient of the NYS AHPERD Northern Zone Amazing Person Award is Janelle Wingerter.
Janelle is currently a physical education teacher at the Kingston Middle School in the Potsdam Central School District. She is the coordinator for the Jump Rope for Heart program, has initiated the Mighty Milers, program, works the after-school program 'Beyond the Bell,' and has coached for three seasons. Janelle is very active as a member of the districts Health and Wellness Committee, has assisted in curriculum revision and integration, and serves on the District Strategic Planning Team. She gives back to her community by volunteering and supporting the Reindeer Dash 5K Run & Walk, a Zumbathon for Canton-Potsdam Hospital and annual fundraising events since 2015 for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Janelle is an active member of the NYS AHPERD Northern Zone having served as secretary since September 2015. She has assisted in the planning of Zone conferences and has presented at zone and state conferences highlighting Plickers, Mighty Milers and Instant Activities and Games. It is with great pleasure that the Northern Zone recognizes Janelle Wingerteras their 2017 Amazing Person.
The 2017 recipient of the NYS AHPERD Southeastern Zone Amazing Person Award is Dr. Rhonda Clements.
Rhonda is currently the program director of the master's program in physical education and sport pedagogy at Manhattanville College. She is the author or co-author of numerous books, chapters, and articles in the area of preschool physical education, movement and games. She has presented 67 times internationally and nationally, as well as multiple times at the state and local levels. Rhonda is an active member of the Southeastern Zone. She serves as the Higher Education Section representative, organizes the Southeastern Zone 'Care to Share' gatherings, and regularly attends zone meetings and events. She is also a member of the New York State Professional Preparation Council for Physical Education. She has served as a committee member for SHAPE America's Diversity and Inclusiveness Task force. Rhonda has been honored with the NASPE Distinguished Service Award, the Amazing Physical Educator Award, their Service Award, Higher Education Award, and Presidential Citation Award. It is with great pleasure the Southeastern Zone recognizes Rhonda Clements as their 2017 Amazing Person.
The 2017 recipient of the NYS AHPERD Suffolk Zone Amazing Person Award is Jeremy Thode.
Jeremy is the associate principal and director of health, physical education, business, fine & applied art, technology, family & consumer science & athletics for the Center Moriches Union Free School District. As part of his job responsibilities, he provides district-wide leadership for the development, maintenance, and evaluation of health and physical education curriculum and policies, the interscholastic athletics program, and wellness and community initiatives. Jeremy is active in Section 11 athletics and has served as president of the Section. He is currently serving as chairperson of both the Sportsmanship Committee and the Girls' Lacrosse Committee, he is also a member of the transgender committee. Jeremy has done a variety of presentations including, DASA workshops, Infusing School Pride into your Athletic Program, and Parents' Role in Youth Sports to name a few. He has been a member of NYS AHPERD since 2004 and is an active member of the Suffolk Zone. He has been a presenter for the Zone and has worked as a member of the zone conference registration team. It is with great pleasure that the Suffolk Zone recognizes Jeremy Thode as their 2017 Amazing Person.
The 2017 recipient of the NYS AHPERD Western Zone Amazing Person Award is Kelly Strong.
Kelly has been an elementary physical education teacher in the Kenmore-Town of Tonawanda School District for the past 17 years. With her passion for teaching about living a healthy lifestyle, Kelly helped create a Ken-Ton Elementary Nutrition and Wellness curriculum, is chairperson of the school's Wellness Committee, and has been the American Heart Association Jump Rope for Heart coordinator for 17 years. Kelly revised the elementary physical education progress reports based on the Curriculum and assessment Guidance Document for physical education, she serves as a member on the Positive Behavior Intervention System Committee, and the Shared Decision-Making team. Kelly is chair of the School Spirit Committee, Field Day Committee, and head of the safety patrol. She also organized a Ken-Ton pedometer challenge, and PiYo and yoga classes to promote staff wellness. For the past seven years, she has been a volunteer volleyball coach for both the Cheeta and Niagara Frontier Volleyball Clubs. In 2005, Kelly was honored to be named Kenmore West Coach of the Year. It is with great pleasure that the Western Zone recognizes Kelly Strong as their 2017 Amazing Person.