NYS AHPERD Teacher of the Year biographies.
Bios are available for TOY award recipients dating back to 2012.
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The 2020/21 recipient of the NYS AHPERD Adapted Physical Education Teacher of the Year Award is Alexis Abdo-Davis
Alexis received her bachelor’s degree from SUNY Cortland in Physical Education with an emphasis in Adapted PE, and her masters is Physical Education from Canisius College. She is currently teaching at West Genesee Central School District as their physical education and adapted physical education teacher. Alexis created the APE program for her district. She developed a sensory gym in her middle school and was able to adapt the space to accommodate students with severe and profound disabilities. She created a health enhancing level of physical fitness for students in need of additional services. She was instrumental in wheelchair sports, combining her general PE students and those with disabilities so all could participate. She is invested in her community working with families to help develop motor skills, and how to self-regulate though sensory motor activities, along with volunteering for Children with Visual Impairments. Alexis has presented at the NYS AHPERD and the Sensory Pathways for All Abilities conferences. A colleague wrote “Alexis strives for excellence. She attends and often presents at every professional development opportunity, as she is eager to share her experiences with her colleagues. She holds multiple certifications, making her an asset to our district. ” President Seymour, it is my honor to present to you the recipient of the Adapted Physical Education Teacher of the Year Award, Alexis Abdo-Davis.
The 2020/21 recipient of the NYS AHPERD Elementary Physical Education Teacher of the Year Award is Michelle Henn
Michelle received her bachelor's in Physical Education and Athletic Training from Canisius College, her master’s in P.E. and Health Education from East Stroudsburg, and a certificate in Education Administration from SUNY New Paltz. Michelle has built her career within Washingtonville Central School District at Taft Elementary School. Her goal is to provide a safe and healthy learning environment for all of her students. Using the NYS Standards Michelle builds a program focusing on cognitive knowledge learned from participating in sports and activities. Utilizing various teaching methodologies such as, visual, kinesthetic, verbal and musical, she develops programs tailored for each of her student's needs. Michelle has been the Catskill Zone Secretary, Catskill Zone President, and currently the Catskill Zone Treasurer. She has presented at the NYS AHPERD annual conference, Catskill Zone mini conferences, and has organized multiple Get Moving events. Through all of her hard work she has received the Washingtonville Central School District Board of Education Award, and was honored as Catskill Zone’s Amazing Person. A former colleague wrote “Michelle has a very high sense of values and morals, by which she lives daily. Her honesty and integrity are at the very core of who she is. She treats people with respect and sees the good in each person. This is demonstrated clearly in how she strives to meet the specific needs of each student. Michelle embraces the diversity and individuality of her students while reinforcing how this strengthens each community, whether it be a team, a class, or the entire school.” President Seymour, it is my honor to present to you the recipient of the Elementary Physical Education Teacher of the Year Award, Michelle Henn.
The 2020/21 recipient of the NYS AHPERD Middle School Physical Education Teacher of the Year Award is Terry Gendron
Terry graduated from SUNY Cortland with her Bachelor of Science in Physical Education. She received her master’s in Reading from the College at St. Rose. Terry is the current Physical Education teacher at Cohoes Middle School focusing her programming to provide students the ability to improve their physical literacy, promote positive relationships, develop communication skills and strategies, and learn to appropriately respond to successes and failures. Terry tailors her lessons in both traditional and adapted physical education to the unique needs of her students. As a member of NYS AHPERD Terry has been the President of Capital Zone, President-elect for the Elementary Section, Awards Committee member, and Conference Chair for the Capital Zone. She has also presented at Zone conferences as well as, the state level multiple times. A fellow leader from the Capital Zone stated, “I believe that Terry’s passion comes from her personal commitment to herself, her family, her students and profession. She always is the first one to create, design, and apply new ideas in order to make learning a real and viable experience for her students.” President Seymour, it is my honor to present to you the recipient of the Middle School Physical Education Teacher of the Year Award, Teresa Gendron.
The 2020/21 recipient of the NYS AHPERD High School Physical Education Teacher of the Year Award is Charlie Rizzuto
Charlie received his Bachelor’s of Science in Human Services from Pace University, his Masters in Physical Education from Adelphi University, and he has obtained both his Health Education and School Leadership certificate of advanced study through Adelphi. Charlie is a Health and Physical Education Teacher at Oyster Bay High School, the Student Athlete Leadership program advisor, Health Club creator and advisor, and Class of 2023 advisor. Charlie uses the NYS Learning Standards, and was able to be a part of the team reviewing and creating the new documents for learning. For his teaching model he uses the “backwards design model” where the games and activities are chosen after the specific learning is identified, this allows students to progress increasing their level of confidence and understanding. At the state level, Charlie has been the Nassau Zone President, and Secondary Physical Education Section President. He presents yearly at the NYS AHPERD Annual Conference and the Nassau Zone Conference, has presented at the Phys Ed Summit and has been a National PE and School Sport Institute Presenter. He has received the Nassau Zone Secondary Physical Education Teacher of the Year, and the Health Education Amazing Person of the Year. Speaking about Charlie his director stated, “Charlie continues to do amazing work, his incredible teaching and professionalism are the result of his tremendous commitment to excellence, tireless work ethic, and outstanding character.” President Seymour, it is my honor to present to you the recipient of the High School Physical Education Teacher of the Year Award, Charlie Rizzuto.
The 2020/21 recipient of the NYS AHPERD Middle School Health Education Teacher of the Year Award is Jessica Butts
Jessica obtained both her Bachelors and Masters from SUNY Cortland. She teaches at Pierre Von Cortland Middle School in the Croton-Harmon School district. Jessica’s curriculum is a dynamic, skills-based health program based on the NYS Guidance Document, the State and National Standards including, the National Sexuality Education Standards. She is an active member of the Executive Board of the local teacher’s association, provides parents education workshops titled, “Fostering Healthy Learners”, volunteers as a youth soccer and basketball coach, and offers her Zumba instruction for community events. Jessica is a part of Health Heroes, organizing and facilitating bi-annual workshops for health and physical education teachers. She has been a presenter at NYS AHPERD annual conferences and is a participant in the Health Education Section meetings. “Ms. Butts is seen as a leader and is one to whom many turn to in uncertain times. She is without a doubt one of the most trusted and relied upon educators in our school district. Her presence in our school is respected by all and her many contributions, are truly exemplary.” President Seymour, it is my honor to present to you the recipient of the Middle School Health Education Teacher of the Year Award, Jessica Butts.
The 2020/21 recipient of the NYS AHPERD High School Health Education Teacher of the Year Award is Kristin Bergin
Kristin received her Bachelors of Science as Registered Nurse from Binghamton University, and her masters in Health Education at Sage graduate school. She is the high school health educator at Queensbury Union Free School District. Kristin is the Health Education Department Chair, Prevention Coordinator, Lead Nutrition Educator, and the summer enrichment program nutrition coordinator and educator. Kristin’s programming follows the NYS Learning Standards and integrates, Mental Health Literacy is Schools, and Social Emotional Learning Benchmarks. She has instituted a ‘Wednesday Wellness’ series, creating and implementing workshops on burnout, fatigue and traumas to bring awareness and institute interventions. She is an involved mentor and peer to those in her field. A colleague wrote “Her character and citizenship are outstanding. She is compassionate, empathetic, and confidential. Her students and colleagues hold her in the highest regard. She is one of the best teachers I have observed. Her knowledge of health education topics, prevention, and overall wellness are a blessing to the students of our district.” President Seymour, it is my honor to present to you the recipient of the Secondary Health Education Teacher of the Year Award, Kristin Bergin.
The 2019 recipient of the NYS AHPERD Adapted Physical Education Teacher of the Year Award is Eric Kohl.
Eric is an adapted physical education teacher at Monroe 1 BOCES in Rochester. He works with a population of students who have significant mental health needs, autism and severe learning disabilities. Eric believes the NYS Learning Standards are critical in his approach to planning and teaching. His classroom promotes a positive, safe, healthy and nurturing environment. Many of his students have difficulty interacting with their peers during activities; therefore, Eric creates games that focus on skill development and requires cooperation of the whole class to accomplish a goal. Eric is the Special Olympics track and field coach and coordinator, and coaches youth wrestling. He has been actively involved in NYS AHPERD as past president of the Recreation/Adventure Education Section. In service to the Central Western Zone, Eric is the Zone president-elect and the Adapted Physical Education Section representative. He has been involved in conference planning at both the state and zone level, served as a writer on the physical education grading guidelines committee and the Next Generation Learning Standards Committee. Eric has been honored to receive the Adapted Physical Education & Sports Section Amazing Person Award and the Monroe 1 BOCES Blue Apple Award. A colleague wrote, "Eric works tirelessly to ensure that students are challenged to reach their true potential, while taking into account the social-emotional growth of his students with special needs. The way he presents the skills and strategies needed for a variety of physical activities enables students to develop skills necessary to be competitive in sports and games. Eric is an exceptional educator, not just in the realm of physical education but as a truly inspirational leader for the teaching community." It is an honor to present the recipient of the 2019 Adapted Physical Education Teacher of the Year Award, Eric Kohl.
The 2019 recipient of the NYS AHPERD Elementary Physical Education Teacher of the Year Award is Elizabeth Bolger.
Beth has been a physical education teacher in the Sayville School District for 13 years. Her goal is to create lessons that challenge students and are aligned with NYS Learning Standards. Beth differentiates her class instruction to accommodate her students' individual fitness levels, by using games, tools and activities to ensure all students are active 95% of each class. She constantly assesses students both cognitively and physically with the use of Plickers, pedometers and heart rate monitors. Beth implemented an "Abilities Awareness" curriculum to educate students about those with special abilities. She advocates for a culture of movement and created "movement and mindfulness hallways" that have become the standard for her school district. She received grants to establish a skateboarding unit and mindfulness certification. Beth is an active member of the Suffolk Zone, serves on the Zone's executive board as vice president of dance, and presents at state and zone conferences. She created and coordinates the Suffolk Zone Fit Club competition which hosts over 1,000 athletes and coaches from 31 schools. Beth has been honored with the Suffolk Zone Elementary Physical Education Teacher of the Year and her videos have taken top honors in the Get Moving NY contests. A school administrator wrote, "The greatest gift educators give students is the opportunity to develop self-confidence. Beth conveys unswerving confidence in her students and asks them to achieve what they had considered impossible. In doing so she pays her students the ultimate respect: she believes in them. And this helps them believe in themselves." It is an honor to present the recipient of the 2019 Elementary Physical Education Teacher of the Year Award, Elizabeth Bolger.
The 2019 recipient of the NYS AHPERD Middle School Physical Education Teacher of the Year Award is Penny Leonard.
Penny graduated from Hannibal Central School District and with pride, returned to teach physical education after graduating from SUNY Cortland. Her middle school curriculum is based on NYS Learning Standards, SHAPE America's National Standards and Grade Level Outcomes. Penny constructs her daily lessons using the differentiated teaching method, by forming flexible groups and integrating different ability and cognitive levels. By doing this, she has students within groups who can serve as role models for skills and help to provide positive feedback to struggling students. Penny uses a formative assessment at the end of each unit, which enables her to measure student growth and demonstrate knowledge gained. She is a member of the school's Character Education Committee, Field Days Committee and the District Strategic Planning Committee. Penny coaches modified cross country and girls basketball. She is an active member of Central North Zone and was honored with the Zone's Middle School Physical Education Teacher of the Year Award. Her assistant superintendent wrote, "Teaching middle school physical education can be a challenge since students are experiencing several development changes that can make them feel self-conscious about participating in physical activities. Recognizing this, Penny makes developing her classroom culture a top priority. She is continually seeking opportunities to grow in her content knowledge and engages in school-wide efforts to strengthen students' literacy skills - a true testament to Penny's dedication to educating the whole child!" It is an honor to present the recipient of the 2019 Middle School Physical Education Teacher of the Year Award, Penny Leonard.
The 2019 recipient of the NYS AHPERD Secondary Physical Education Teacher of the Year Award is Margo Barrows.
Margo has been teaching secondary physical education and health education at Oxford Academy for 21 years. She uses the NYS Learning Standards as the foundation of her curriculum and modifies the program to meet the needs of her students. Margo's goal is to provide students with the knowledge and skills to be physically active beyond her classroom. Her students are required to do a yearlong research project with their findings presented as a research paper, a group PowerPoint, a brochure or creating a fitness program. As new fitness trends emerge, Margo updates her curriculum and has recently included kettlebell, TRX and HIIT trainings. She has coached numerous sports at varying age levels, and is the High School Student Government advisor. Margo has secured many grants for purchasing equipment for the physical education department. In service to NYS AHPERD, she is an active member of the Central South Zone and has presented at the annual and Central North Zone conferences. Margo was honored as the American Red Cross Teacher Hero of the Year and was inducted into the Ithaca College Athletics Hall of Fame. Her principal wrote, "Margo's rapport with her students, her solid planning, and model management skills allow her to create flexible lessons that are both current and engaging. With her ability to relate everyday practice to physical education, a pedagogically sound yet enjoyable classroom experience occurs. Simply put, Margo's presence at Oxford has helped increase student performance and an appreciation for wellness." It is an honor to present the recipient of the 2019 Secondary Physical Education Teacher of the Year Award, Margo Barrows.
The 2019 recipient of the NYS AHPERD Secondary Health Education Teacher of the Year Award is Ashleigh Barnhart-Burto.
Ashleigh is a health education teacher, district health coordinator, athletic coordinator, and an elementary physical education teacher at Belleville Henderson Central School District. She uses the NYS guidance document for effective lesson planning, focusing on skills and functional knowledge. Ashleigh believes having her students learn the curriculum is crucial; however, having students practice how to make good decisions and informed choices is critical. She uses technology to enrich her program, through Chromebooks and Google Classroom. Chromebooks are used for both individual and group projects, while Google Classroom is utilized as a platform to submit assignments, share information and have group discussions. Ashleigh personally embodies a healthy lifestyle and references it throughout her curriculum by integrating discussions about eating healthy, exercising, and the benefits of running. As health coordinator for the district, she leads monthly Health and Wellness Committee meetings and has coordinated the Health & Wellness Fair. Ashleigh is a member of the Central North Zone and was honored to receive the Zone's Cheri Stevens Award and the Secondary Health Education Teacher of the Year Award. She has been inducted into the Alfred State College Athletic Hall of Fame. Her principal wrote, "Ashleigh is an outstanding educator and she has a strong ability to interact with students, who feel free to turn to her for guidance. Many parents remark on the positive impact she has on their children. Students tend to live up to the high expectations set forth by Ashleigh, simply because of her ability to teach." It is an honor to present the recipient of the 2019 Secondary Health Education Teacher of the Year Award, Ashleigh Barnhart-Burto.
The 2018 recipient of the NYS AHPERD Adapted Physical Education Teacher of the Year Award is Patrick Colgan.
At the time of this award announcement, Patrick was an adapted physical education teacher in the NYC Department of Education District 75 Citywide Program for students with special needs; primarily with autism, intellectual disabilities and those who are health impaired. His educational background includes two master's degrees, one in coaching and one in sport-psychology, which allow him to adapt his teaching leadership and communication skills to engage positively with his adapted physical education classes. All students have an individualized education plan, with a visual schedule that includes pictures and words of activities taught in class. Patrick's classroom is a collaborative community that promotes a positive, safe, healthy and nurturing environment where students and paraprofessionals can grow and achieve their common goals. He is committed to his students engaging in New York City Community Programs to help encourage them to be more physically active. Many students have never had the opportunity to participate in community-based swim instruction, golf, bowling and track and field events, and now do so. Patrick facilitates a school/district based yoga program supporting enhanced attention, communication, performance and self-regulation skills. He has presented at numerous NYS AHPERD state and zone conferences and countless NYS DOE Adaptive Physical Education Institutes. A colleague wrote, "Patrick's innovative and highly successful strategies for working with his students are creative, modified for special need students and highly adaptable to meet the challenges of the school population. Staff members love working with Patrick. He is highly collaborative, a team player and always ready to meet daily challenges with a smile. He believes barriers are only barriers if you enable them." President Garbarino, it is my honor to present to you the recipient of the 2018 Adapted Physical Education Teacher of the Year Award, Patrick Colgan.
The 2018 recipient of the NYS AHPERD Dance Teacher of the Year Award is Cynthia Parise.
Cindi is a physical education teacher in the Enlarged School District of Middletown and an adjunct professor at Manhattanville College. She has a comprehensive program that contains an abundance of materials reflecting a clear progression of movement, rhythm, gymnastics, fitness and modified sports skills. Cindi's program includes a ballet unit to teach technique and posture, a jazz unit with technique and turns, and modern dance to introduce Martha Graham and famous teachers/choreographers. She created "Dancing through the Decades," which integrates history and a technological video clip, as well as a multicultural unit teaching dances from different countries integrating geography, history, social skills and fun facts. Cindi adjusts her activities and experiences to reflect the diversity of students regarding learning styles and levels of ability. She offer modifications along the way and "Challenge by Choice" so students can choose different levels. Cindi has been an integral staff member in choreographing school plays and marching band performances, and creating a dance club. In service to NYS AHPERD, she is an active member of the Southeastern Zone and served on the Executive Council as president of the Dance Education Section. Cindi has been honored with the Dance Education Section Amazing Person Award. A colleague wrote, "Cindi has successfully implemented innovative dance programming with a flare that has excited students and faculty. She has a unique ability to motivate everyone around her. It is this contagious enthusiasm that has weaved itself into the fabric of our school community." President Garbarino, it is my honor to present to you the recipient of the 2018 Dance Education Teacher of the Year Award, Cindi Parise.
The 2018 recipient of the NYS AHPERD Elementary Physical Education Teacher of the Year Award is Megaera Regan.
Megaera has been a physical education teacher in the Port Washington School District for 28 years. As a result of fitness initiatives Megaera developed at Manorhaven Elementary School, Port Washington is known as the school that "moves," having received the "Let's Move Active School" award twice. The physical education curriculum includes a variety of activities that will help students become physically literate. Activities are standard based and backed by research. To help reach all students, Megaera uses a number of different teaching models, including Sport Education, Guided Discovery, Responsive Classroom Techniques, Practice Style, Stations and Exploration. She incorporated Action-Based Learning to empower students to realize they can become better learners through movement. She has received grants to establish a Milers Running Club, a cycling program, and an 'Early Bird' before-school fitness program. Megaera is an active member of the Nassau Zone and has presented at numerous NYS AHPERD state and zone conferences. Megaera was honored with the Nassau Zone Elementary School Teacher of the Year Award and winning the "Get Moving NY" video contest. Her principal wrote, "Megaera is a great role model for our teachers and students. Our children learn not to be winners, but to do their best, play fair, work hard and show good sportsmanship. Our teachers recognize in their colleague someone who has vision and always finds ways to fulfill her teaching dreams." President Garbarino, it is my honor to present to you the recipient of the 2018 Elementary Physical Education Teacher of the Year Award, Megaera Regan.
The 2018 recipient of the NYS AHPERD Middle School Physical Education Teacher of the Year Award is Edward Hoffman.
Ed began his career in Massapequa Public Schools in 1995 as a physical educator. He currently teaches and serves as department chairperson for physical education and athletics. Ed chaired and co-wrote the district's physical education curricula to meet NYS Learning Standards. His physical education program has an emphasis on lessons that infuse Physical Best concepts, diversified assessment, character education themes, technology integration and interdisciplinary instruction that focuses on common core skills. By using various forms of assessments, it enables Ed to help reinforce key components of each lesson, to measure student growth and to support the ELA & Math Learning Standards. Ed constructs his daily lessons with differentiated methodologies, including Delivery of Instruction, Student Levels, and Equipment Choice. The units created throughout the school year include adventure education, peer teaching, and social responsibility models. Ed has a comprehensive website listing all class notes, expectations, assessments, videos, and exit outcomes for each of the units. His active style of teaching, combined with his use of technology across the curriculum, promote student engagement and active learning. Ed is a dedicated member of the Nassau Zone and encourages his entire staff to become members of NYS AHPERD. His principal wrote, "Ed values student academic and social growth, working to continually build student achievement and student character. He has a wide range of abilities and expertise that make him an integral member of our school, and he continues to play a vital role in developing our school's vision and shaping Berner's culture." President Garbarino, it is my honor to present to you the recipient of the 2018 Middle School Physical Education Teacher of the Year Award, Ed Hoffman.
The 2018 recipient of the NYS AHPERD Secondary Physical Education Teacher of the Year Award is Allison Relyea.
Allison has been teaching physical education and dance at Guilderland High School for 15 years. She uses the NYS and SHAPE Learning Standards as the foundation of her curriculum Allison's goals for her students are to be physically engaged, knowledgeable, confident, comfortable, and resourceful. Her 9th and 10th grade program is designed around the concepts of group collaboration, teamwork, and personal/social responsibility. The 11th and 12th grade student concepts further explore individual activity enjoyment, self-awareness, physical literacy, and lifetime fitness opportunities beyond the classroom. Allison has integrated technology using Google Chromebooks and the Google Apps for Education platform to better reach her students and to further assess attainment of the learning standards. Students have found success because of learning experiences Allison delivers through the use of visual aids and demonstrations, written directions, personal engagement, class discussion, peer groups and in-class brainstorming sessions. She gives them time to learn, process and "practice with patience." Allison has been active in NYS AHPERD serving as Secondary Physical Education Section president, and the Capital Zone's president, Secondary Section representative, and treasurer. Allison was honored as a NYS AHPERD Dance Education Teacher of the Year, and received Amazing Person awards for the Capital Zone and Secondary Physical Education Section. Her assistant principal wrote, "Allison's passion for teaching and her students never wavers. She connects with them in ways others are unable to; she reaches them, motivates them and inspires them. She not only has high expectations for them but herself as well. Each day she strives to be better than the day before." President Garbarino, it is my honor to present to you the recipient of the 2018 Secondary Physical Education Teacher of the Year Award, Allison Relyea.
The 2018 recipient of the NYS AHPERD Secondary Health Education Teacher of the Year Award is Lori Hewlett.
Lori has taught health education in Sachem Central School District for 31 years, and has been the District Health Department chairperson for 27 years. She believes wellness and fitness concepts should be infused into existing core curriculums in all disciplines grades K-12, and goals should be measureable and quantifiable through online data collection tools and existing databases. Lori uses various skills-based teaching methodologies to enrich her health education program and classroom. The measurement of student learning is through both formal and informal forms of assessment, including group project, student portfolios and advocacy project. She runs a student-centered classroom that is differentiated based on student need. Stress management skills, including progressive muscle relaxation and guided imagery, are integrated not only into her health education program, but are used throughout the school as alternatives to suspension and to alleviate test anxiety. Lori is the Teens as Teachers club advisor. The club is a substance abuse prevention education program. While this initiative started as an after-school club, it is now offered as a credited health education elective. In serving NYS AHPERD, Lori is a member of the Health Education Committee and the Suffolk Zone vice president for health education. She was honored as the 2013 Suffolk Zone Health Educator of the Year. A colleague wrote, "Lori lives and breathes the desire to educate people on the benefits of living a healthy lifestyle. Her health curriculum transcends academic achievement and teaches lifelong health living and lifesaving content. We've had current and former students use the CPR skills learned in class to save lives. What a testament to the impact of Lori as an educator and to the curriculum she helped author and nurture." President Garbarino, it is my honor to present to you the recipient of the 2018 Secondary Health Education Teacher of the Year Award, Lori Hewlett.
The 2017 recipient of the NYS AHPERD Elementary Physical Education Teacher of the Year Award is Donn Tobin.
Donn has been a physical education teacher at Lakeview Elementary School in the Mahopac Central School District for the past 20 years and is an adjunct professor at Manhattanville College. He believes a quality physical education program must be aligned with both the New York State Physical Education Learning Standards, as well as the SHAPE America National Standards. Donn feels strongly that fitness must be a fundamental part of the PE curriculum. He uses innovative teaching methods, including a "spiral-themed" curriculum, individual task choices in class, and a behavior system that creates a positive environment of trust and cooperation in the classroom. In service to NYS AHPERD, Donn has been an active member of the Southeastern Zone currently serving as their president-elect. At the state level Donn has served in numerous capacities including president of the Elementary/Middle School Physical Education Section, co-chair of our annual 5 K Race, is chairman of our new Podcast Committee and he recently served as secretary of the Executive Council. He has been honored with the Elementary/Middle School Physical Education Section and the Southeastern Zone Amazing Person Awards. Donn's principal shares, "Donn is committed to his own growth as an educator, as exampled by his continued innovation in the classroom. He remains committed to connecting physical education to all core content areas and has embraced the addition of technology into his program. Donn's many contributions illustrate his passion for education." President Wolfe, it is my honor to present to you the recipient of the 2017 Elementary Physical Education Teacher of the Year Award, Donn Tobin.
The 2017 recipient of the NYS AHPERD Middle School Physical Education Teacher of the Year Award is Juliann Zelazny-Wehner.
Juliann has been a physical education teacher for 29 years in the Rochester City School District. She currently works at the Rochester International Academy, which is a transitional program for newly arrived refugee students who are brand new to the United States. The students speak very little to no English, so physical education has become a "universal language." Juliann finds ways to reach all of her students and has utilized PE activities to bring together many different cultures, bridging differences and creating a safe haven for her students. She does this by respecting their customs and beliefs, and will research their home countries to find games that she imbeds into her current curriculum. Many of the students have experienced brutal and horrific events while in refugee camps, and Juliann has had to teach them how to play for the mere joy of playing … to be children without any worries. Juliann is an active member of the Central Western Zone and was honored to receive their Teacher of the Year Award in 2015. Her principal states, "Juliann is a highly effective teacher, extremely revered by her colleagues, and loved by her students and their families. She is a true Merchant of Hope, always wanting the best for her students, a true teacher who is willing to put in the work regardless of the challenges." President Wolfe, it is my honor to present to you the recipient of the 2017 Middle School Physical Education Teacher of the Year Award, Juliann Zelazny Wehner.
The 2017 recipient of the NYS AHPERD Secondary Physical Education Teacher of the Year Award is Shelly Connors.
Shelly has been a physical education teacher for 20 years and with the Auburn Enlarged City School District for the last 16. She was instrumental in developing Auburn's Adventure Education curriculum. Her leadership in this area has led to a series of four Adventure Education courses which begin with and an introduction, then a focus on fitness, onto social emotional growth and finally student driven adventure education. Through these courses students are able to meet state and national standards and also develop 21st century learning skills. Shelly believes in guided discovery enabling her students to find their own path towards collaboration and success. In service to NYS AHPERD, Shelly has served as president of the Central North Zone, served on the Bernard E. Hughes Awards Committee, Membership Recruitment Ad Hoc Committee, president of the NYS Secondary Section, co-chair the annual 5K Race, and initiated the Sensational Secondary presentation series. She was honored with several Central North Zone awards, including the Cheri Stevens Award, Secondary Teacher of the Year Award, and their Amazing Person Award. Shelly was also recognized as the NYS AHPERD Secondary Physical Education Amazing Person. Her principal states, "The most endearing quality about Shelly is the passion she shares for physical fitness and healthy living. Not only does she seek out ways for others to embrace healthy lifestyles, she recognizes the value of a positive attitude. Shelly models the belief that if you think you can be successful, you will be." President Wolfe, it is my honor to present to you the recipient of the 2017 Secondary Physical Education Teacher of the Year Award, Shelly Connors.
The 2017 recipient of the NYS AHPERD Secondary Health Education Teacher of the Year Award is Jessica Wright.
Jessica has been teaching health in the Central Valley School District for the past 16 years. In addition to teaching health education at both the high school and middle school levels, she has taught first aid and CPR training, parenting courses, and an elective class called "Critical Issues In Health." This is a class where unique learning takes place by including a field trip to a federal prison. The inmates talk candidly about their poor choices that placed them in jail and stress the importance of education and staying away from drugs. To meet the needs of special education students, Jessica helped create a curriculum that presents the same important health information in a developmentally appropriate way. Jessica is an active member of the Catskill Zone and has presented at numerous zone and state conferences. Her colleague stated, "Jessica is a master at using unique approaches to achieve her objectives. During class discussions, she can get everyone involved and she makes everyone feel like their opinion matters. She is an excellent facilitator and as a result easily establishes a rapport with all of her students. This connection enables them to feel safe in her classroom and encourages them to get involved in important class discussions." Her assistant principal added, "Because of the respect Jessica shows her students, they in turn respect her and each other. No matter the topic, difficult or controversial, there is an atmosphere free from judgments." President Wolfe, it is my honor to present to you the recipient of the 2017 Secondary Health Teacher of the Year Award, Jessica Wright.
The 2016 recipient of the NYS AHPERD Dance Teacher of the Year Award is Michelle Denino Gordon.
Michelle is a dance teacher in the Bay Shore School District where she has taught for the past 17 years. She teaches dance classes, performance dance classes and an International Baccalaureate dance class. Michelle has high expectations in the classroom in regards to communication and interaction among all her students. She has an empathetic approach to behavior management with "seek first to understand" at its core. Her students learn skills and concepts that will help them value dance as a way to stay healthy and fit for a lifetime. Michelle is an active member of the Suffolk Zone serving as the Dance Section Vice President. She is a past Dance Section president and program planner and has presented at Zone and state conferences. Michelle was honored with the Dance Section Amazing Person Award. Michelle's director said, "Her enthusiasm for teaching dance inspires her students to learn and attempt difficult skills and routines resulting in students exceeding their expectations." Her coordinator said, "Michelle is patient and nurturing at all times with her students and is always willing to go the extra mile, so her students have the opportunity to explore dance to the fullest extent. She is a model for all teachers in the way she always strives to improve her practice and her knowledge and in the way she creates a student-centered learning environment in her dance studio." President Rose, it is my honor to present to you the recipient of the 2016 Dance Teacher of the Year Award, Michelle Denino Gordon.
The 2016 recipients of the NYS AHPERD Elementary Physical Education Teacher of the Year Award are Lori Bifarella and Tara Nelsen.
Lori has been an Elementary Physical Education Teacher in the Attica Central School District for the past 23 years. Her goal is to instill in her students that physical activity is a way of life. Her lessons could best be described as a progressive form that grows from active skill practice, to applying skill performances in dynamic environments. Lori's teaching methodology varies from class to class and year to year, always embracing the changes within our profession. Lori uses a peer learning environment where students often find more connections with the skill while acting as "coach" in conjunction with self-exploration experiences. By utilizing the strengths of the varied individual talents within each class Lori draws from them as peer resources as well as building on character values of helping others in the process. Lori is an active member of NYS AHPERD. She is currently serving as the Elementary/Middle School Physical Education Section President. She has presented at state and Zone conferences as well as Cattaraugus/Alleghany conferences. Lori was honored with the Elementary/Middle School Physical Education Section Amazing Person Award, the Wyoming County Youth Bureau Outstanding Adult Career Service to Youth Award and she received a Certificate of Merit from NYS Assembly Member Dan Burling and a Certificate of Recognition from NYS Senator Dale Volker. Lori was also the Central Western Zone's 1st place winner of the Get Moving NY Video Contest, placing second in the state contest. Lori's colleague said, "During her classes, every student is engaged in learning, while fully participating in physical activities. I am awed by Lori's ambition to go above and beyond the walls of the gymnasium. She has energy and creative ideas which seem endless." President Rose, it is my honor to present to you the recipient of the 2016 Elementary Physical Education Teacher of the Year Award, Lori Bifarella.
Tara has been a health and physical education teacher in the Lawrence Public Schools for the past 13 years. She employs a wide variety of teaching methodologies and strategies to provide the best opportunity for all of her students to succeed. Her daily lessons include a fitness warmup or instant activity, measurable objectives, followed by an anticipatory set to engage the learner's attention, teaching and learning tasks and closure that allows students to verbalize and demonstrate their learning. She uses technology in the gymnasium to record students during skills practice and students are able to describe where they excelled during an activity and point out areas that need improvement. These videotapes and discussions have improved student outcomes and performances. Tara is an active member of NYS AHPERD. She is currently serving as the Nassau Zone President, her second time in the position. She is member of the outstanding high school physical education student awards committee, the Get Moving NY committee and the Zone conference committee. She has presented at national, district, state and Zone conferences. Tara was honored with the Nassau Zone Elementary Physical Education Teacher of the Year Award, the Nassau Zone Service Award and both the Nassau Zone and Elementary/ Middle School Physical Education Section Amazing Person Award. Tara's colleague said, "Tara is patient, caring and clearly sets up an environment that is inclusive for every child. Her lessons are developmentally appropriate and her focus is on the fundamentals and exploration of movement concepts preparing her students for a lifetime of physical activity." President Rose, it is my honor to present to you the recipient of the 2016 Elementary Physical Education Teacher of the Year Award, Tara Nelsen.
The 2016 recipient of the NYS AHPERD Health Education Teacher of the Year Award is Marybeth Mueller.
Marybeth has been a Health Teacher in the Rochester City School District for the past 29 years. She was one of twenty teachers nationwide selected to write the qualifications for National Board Certification in Health Education. She teaches a culturally diverse population and develops lessons that build on their background knowledge. She builds a caring community within her classroom, showing respect to every student every day. One of the reasons her students thrive is she ensures each student always knows the expectation in advance and the assessment criteria. Her students know that learning will be fun, interactive, important, rigorous and respectful. She is a highly effective educator and a gift to the many students whose lives she touched. Marybeth is an active member of NYS AHPERD and the Central Western Zone. She has presented at zone and state conferences and has served as the Central Western Zone Health Section Representative. She was honored with the Central Western Zone Teacher of the Year Award and the Don Lauder Award Teacher of the Year Award. Marybeth's colleague said, "She approaches each lesson as an opportunity to not only educate her students, but provide them with life-long skills as they move into adulthood. She ensures each lesson includes practical applications her students can relate to in real life situations." Her supervisor said "What separates Marybeth from her colleagues is her ability to make meaningful connections with all students to promote a culture of learning." President Rose, it is my honor to present to you the recipient of the 2016 Health Teacher of the Year Award, Marybeth Mueller.
The 2016 recipient of the NYS AHPERD Middle School Physical Education Teacher of the Year Award is Christina Buschmann.
Christina was a physical education teacher and coach in the Clinton Central School District for 30 years. She served as the Department Chair for Health and Physical Education for 14 years. Throughout her career she utilized different teaching methods including, peer coaching, student self-direction, Don Hellison's levels of self-responsibility and emphasized social accountability. She continually demonstrated her commitment to the theory of PMA, Positive Mental Attitude. Her daily message of positive, healthy and happy is what made a difference in her classroom. She was the co-advisor to Rachael's Warriors, an organization that helps to prevent bullying and promotes a caring community. Christina is an active member of Central North Zone serving as the JRFH Coordinator, event sponsor for both Hit the Trails Hiking Day and Slip Sliding Away Weekend and she is a member of the Amazing Person Award Committee. Christina has presented and presided at both Zone and state conferences including, presenting the keynote session at the Central North Zone Mini Conference. Christina was honored with the NYS AHPERD Joy of Effort Award, the Central North Zone Professional of the Year Award, Middle School Physical Education Teacher of the Year Award and the Amazing Person Award. Christina's colleague said, "Christina's energy is contagious and she is always willing to challenge people's thinking. Her positive energy and optimism for life and passion for physical education and health are displayed daily, she is a role model for all ages." President Rose, it is my honor to present to you the recipient of the 2016 Middle School Physical Education Teacher of the Year Award, Christina Buschmann.
The 2016 recipient of the NYS AHPERD Secondary Physical Education Teacher of the Year Award is Megan Mansfield.
Megan has been a Secondary Physical Education Teacher and Coach in the Honeoye Falls-Lima Central School District for the past 9 years. The New York State Learning Standards provide the building blocks for all of her lessons. Using objectives and assessments based on the standards, enables her to monitor student growth and achievement. Her program offers students electives and Megan's focus is lifelong activities. Her goal is to motivate and inspire her students to be lifelong learners. She helps them develop the skills necessary to experience wellness in every aspect of life. She works to provide her students with new, exciting activities integrating technology, in fitness, nutrition and wellness. Megan is an active member of the Central Western Zone and has presented at Zone, state and national conferences. She was honored with the Central Western Zone Secondary Physical Education Teacher of the Year Award, the NASPE Stars Award and the Track and Field Coach of the Year. Megan's principal said, "She teaches with a passion for the profession that is inspiring to both her students and co-workers. Her genuine enthusiasm for what she teaches is infectious." he also said, "She is not only working to promote healthy students, but to promote a healthy culture. She is constantly learning and working to bring her students the most relevant and enjoyable life-long activities that will lead to a lifetime of fitness." President Rose, it is my honor to present to you the recipient of the 2016 Secondary Physical Education Teacher of the Year Award, Megan Mansfield.
The 2015 recipient of the NYS AHPERD Adapted Physical Education Teacher of the Year Award is Mike Gibbons.
Mike received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Physical Education with a concentration in Adapted Physical Education from the State University of New York at Cortland and his Master's of Liberal Arts and Sciences from the State University of Stony Brook. He has been a K-12 adapted physical education teacher in the Half Hollow Hills School District for the past eleven years. Working with special needs students has always been his passion. He is a master at managing the needs of students with auditory, visual and other sensory problems. Mike has facilitated social integration and social interaction between special needs children and the general education students in the physical education setting. He is exceptional at modifying units and lessons to accommodate the needs of students with physical and cognitive disabilities. He is the Half Hollows Hills adapted swim instructor and program coordinator, a coach for Special Olympics and a coach for the Empire State Games for the Physically Challenged. Mike is currently the Suffolk Zone vice president for the Recreation/Adventure Education Section. Mike has presented numerous workshops for adapted physical education teachers. His dedication to the profession and teaching children with special needs has not gone unnoticed. He has received the Half Hollow Hills Physical Education Department's Teacher of the Year Award and the Suffolk Zone's Adapted Physical Education Teacher of the Year Award. His director of physical education describes Mike as "dynamic, enthusiastic, and an exceptional motivator, not just for the student's but a true leader among his colleagues. He is a teacher whose curriculum is current and is creative in developing opportunities to ensure his adaptive student's success. " President James, it is my honor to present to you the recipient of the 2015 Adapted Physical Education Teacher of the Year Award, Mike Gibbons.
The 2015 recipient of the NYS AHPERD Dance Teacher of the Year Award is Leslie Pieters.
Leslie earned her Bachelor of Science Degree from Hofstra University, her Master of Science Degree from Queens College and her Certificate of Advanced Study from the College of St. Rose. She has been a health and physical education teacher for sixteen years, currently teaching in the Roosevelt Union Free School District. Dance education as a significant portion of Leslie's Physical Education Curriculum. Personal health and fitness is a top priority along with creating a safe and healthy physical and social environment. Leslie is committed to an organic teaching style that is vibrant and innovative where she creates a classroom that engages, empowers and connects her students. Leslie can be seen dancing with her students as they enter the gymnasium. This motivating climate has allowed her to successfully implement a number of cultural dance units. She is very active on the Nassau Zone Board and at the state level Leslie is currently the Dance Section President and program planner. She is also the chair of the newly formed Diversity Committee. Leslie presents dance sessions annually at Zone Conferences and the NYS AHPERD Conference. She has published dance articles and has also had an article on National Standards for Physical Education published in Strategies. She has been the facilitator of several successful grant applications receiving over $100,000 to combat childhood obesity. A colleague said, "Ms. Pieters is high energy and can always be counted on the go above and beyond the call duty. Music and dance are a wonderful component of our physical education curriculum because of Ms. Pieters". President James, it is my honor to present to you the recipient of the 2015 Dance Education Teacher of the Year Award, Leslie Zeelika Pieters.
The 2015 recipient of the NYS AHPERD Elementary Physical Education Teacher of the Year Award is Lynn Hefele.
Lynn earned both her Bachelor of Science Degree in Physical Education and her Master of Science Degree in Biomechanics from Springfield College. She has been a physical education teacher in the Huntington Union Free School District for twenty-seven years. Lynn develops her physical education units based on the New York State Learning Standards with an emphasis on infusing the Common Core Standards for Literacy. She is the founder of Literature Enhanced Physical Education, which promotes using literature to motivate and educate children. She prioritizes teaching methodologies that reach her students where they are socially, emotionally, physically and cognitively. She uses bulletin boards, YouTube videos and life size action figures to teach cognitive concepts. Lynn is an active member of the Suffolk Zone, serving as Vice President of the Elementary/Middle School Physical Education Section. She has presented at numerous Conferences always enthusiastic about sharing her knowledge with her colleagues. Lynn has been honored with the Special Education Parent Teacher Association Distinguished Service Award and the NYS Lottery and Channel 55 Teacher of the Week recognition. One of Lynn's colleagues states, "on her observations, the box for highly effective have all been checked! This is due to the creation and implementation of innovative and well thought out lessons." Her principal shares, I have visited Lynn's classroom, the gymnasium, several times and each time I was more impressed than the time before. She designs and delivers some of the most creative and engaging lessons I have ever seen." President James, it is my honor to present to you the recipient of the 2015 Elementary Physical Education Teacher of the Year Award, Lynn Hefele.
The 2015 recipient of the NYS AHPERD Health Education Teacher of the Year Award is Frances M. Vincent.
Fran received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Health and Physical Education from Springfield College and her Master of Science Degree in School Health Education from Russell Sage. She has taught health and physical education in the Bethlehem Central School District for thirty years. The health curriculum at Bethlehem is standards based, skills driven, researched based, learner centered, and strength based. Fran believes her students need to be at the center of their own learning. She provides her students personally relevant, authentic opportunities to learn, practice and apply health skills through active exploration and discovery. Students are expected to present information to their classmates, debate and discuss it as well as share it with their families. Teaching strategies Fran uses include, role-playing, modeling, simulations, analysis of case studies and peer teaching. In addition to her teaching responsibilities, Fran is involved with numerous school committees including, serving as the advisor for Students against Destructive Decisions and as a member of the Coordinated School Health Council. In service to NYS AHPERD, Fran has been a member and chair of the Health Education Awards committee and wrote sample SLO's for Health Education. One of Fran's administrator's states, "Fran is a warm, fun, engaging human being who pulls people into her world with humor and generosity. She does not just teach in the classroom, she leads by example. Fran delivers her lessons with energy and passion. She understands the adolescent student and is able to instill a passion and desire for learning health education. President James, it is my honor to present to you the recipient of the 2015 Health Education Teacher of the Year Award, Frances M. Vincent.
The 2015 recipient of the NYS AHPERD Middle School Physical Education Teacher of the Year Award is Douglas Hallberg.
Doug received both his Bachelor of Science and Master of Science Degree in Physical Education and Health Education from SUNY Cortland. He has been a health education and physical education teacher in the Mohonasen Central School District for the last 18 years. Winning a $1.8 million dollar PEP grant presented the opportunity for Doug and his colleagues to build a modern, standards based program that uses technology and best practices to develop physically literate students. His goal is to teach students the skills, knowledge and confidence to independently seek out and engage in health enhancing activities. Doug infuses fitness concepts throughout each unit. His students use a Physical Education Notebook during every class. They are filled with vocabulary of the day, heart rate printouts, fitness testing data, self-refection's, and peer assessments. Technology is used continually with a massive screen, projector, and sound system linked wirelessly to I Pads. Using various apps such as tabata pro, plickers, I-heart and coaches eyes along with video clips and heart rate monitors bring class content to life. Doug has been an active member of NYS AHPERD. He eagerly shares his knowledge with others presenting numerous times on Trends in technology and team building. One of Doug's colleagues reflects, "the most impressive thing about Doug has been his unwavering and well-rounded commitment to true physical education. This includes the acquisition and utilization of world class equipment and facilities, consistent excellence in pedagogy, a high level of professionalism, and attention to intellectual and character development taught through the physical education of his students." President James, it is my honor to present to you the recipient of the 2015 Middle School Physical Education Teacher of the Year Award, Douglas Hallberg.
The 2015 recipient of the NYS AHPERD Secondary Physical Education Teacher of the Year Award is Helen Flynn.
Helen received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology from Dowling College and her Master of Science Degree in Physical Education from Hofstra University. She has been a physical education teacher in the Smithtown Central School District for eleven years. Helen has a reputation as a dedicated and extremely motivated teacher. She teaches traditional sport units as well as weight lifting techniques, tai chi, pilates, karate, step aerobics, movement education, self-defense, fitness walking and Yoga. Though these lessons she provides her students with the knowledge to engage in and manage a healthy lifestyle. Helen teaches students to design their own fitness programs encompassing all areas of health related fitness. She created and instructed an online course titled, Technology in Physical Education, Health and Athletics for her colleagues. Since 2006, she has been involved in the Athletes Helping Athletes program which trains high school students in the Student-Athlete Leadership Team Program that includes areas of self-esteem, sportsmanship, teasing, bullying and substance abuse prevention. An administrator shared the following, Helen Flynn consistently makes a profound impact on her students. She works tirelessly to create, facilitate, and evaluate each of her lessons. Every day Helen brings passion, inspiration and sincerity to her job. She is a wonderful role model for our students and displays a deep caring for their well-being and academic growth. Helen Flynn's students are lucky to have a gem such as she working with them, and Smithtown is lucky to have her as a member of its faculty. President James, it is my honor to present to you the recipient of the 2015 Secondary Physical Education Teacher of the Year Award, Helen Flynn.
The 2014 recipient of the NYS AHPERD Adapted Physical Education Teacher of the Year Award is Tracy Sharlow.
Tracy received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Physical Education from Boston University and her Master of Science Degree in Adapted Physical Education from The College at Brockport. She has been an adapted physical education teacher at St. Lawrence-Lewis BOCES for the past twenty-three years. Tracy has developed an APE program using all three of the NYS Learning Standards. She is currently working in an Applied Behavioral Analysis program for students with autism. The Applied Behavioral Analysis program is team-oriented and creates a behavior plan for each student focused on learning standard number 2, a safe and healthy environment. She also writes an evaluation for her students, that includes levels of performance, cognitive testing information and their physical and social needs. Tracy says, children love to move and play, they love to feel they are good at what they do and they love to feel they are important to others; Tracy is grateful she has the opportunity, through her work, to give her students what they love. She develops the best program possible as defined by their individual abilities and not by their disabilities. In service to NYS AHPERD, Tracy has served as the Adapted Physical Education Section President, she is the Northern Zone president-elect, a member of the Zone Physical Education Leadership Awards committee, the Let's Move NY and the mini-conference committees. She has presented at NYS AHPERD conferences and for the Therapeutic Recreation Minor program at SUNY Potsdam. Tracy was honored with the Northern Zone Amazing Person Award. Tracy's colleagues said, "She is a true leader, lifetime learner, and displays all the qualities of an exceptional educator. Tracy is always upbeat and excited about her job. She is an inspiration as she is always seeking ways to improve the quality of services enabling student success." President Mergardt, it is my honor to present to you the recipient of the 2014 Adapted Physical Education Teacher of the Year Award, Tracy Sharlow.
The 2014 recipient of the NYS AHPERD Dance Teacher of the Year Award is Colleen Buchanan.
Colleen received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Speech and Theater from Wagner College, and both a Bachelor of Science Degree in Physical Education and a Master of Arts Degree in Recreation and Outdoor Pursuits from SUNY Cortland. She has been a Lecturer in the physical education department at SUNY Cortland for the past nineteen years. Colleen is enthusiastic, versatile and dedicated to the teaching of dance. She works with a diverse population of students and she strives to find ways to meet their individual needs. She is an expert at sequencing dance steps to scaffold her students learning. She constantly provides verbal cues and corrective feedback helping to ensure her students success. Colleen sets the bar high for her students and has earned their respect in return. She performs numerous institutional and departmental services at SUNY Cortland including, membership on the Gender Implementation & Gender Climate Survey Committee and the Title IX Committee. She serves on the departments Advisory Council and is the Coordinator of the International Study Program in Cologne, Germany. In service to NYS AHPERD, Colleen is a past president of the Dance Section and the NYS AHPERD representative to the Eastern District Association Council for Services. She has presented in local school districts as well as at NYS AHPERD and EDA Conferences. She is a member of the Phi Beta Delta, International Honors Society, she was nominated for the non-tenure track Excellence in Teaching Award at SUNY Cortland and she has been honored with the Dance Section Amazing Person Award. The Chair of her department wrote "Colleen is an outstanding educator and is highly respected by students and colleagues. She has a passion for teaching." President Mergardt, it is my honor to present to you the recipient of the 2014 Dance Education Teacher of the Year Award, Colleen Buchanan.
The 2014 recipient of the NYS AHPERD Elementary Physical Education Teacher of the Year Award is Danielle Grant.
Danielle received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Education from SUNY Cortland and her Master of Science Degree in Instructional Technology and Media Management from SUNY Potsdam. She has been an elementary physical education teacher in the Potsdam Central School District for twenty-four years. Danielle strives to teach her students both how to stay fit and why it is so important. In the early grades, Danielle spends time developing and polishing basic motor skills, introducing her students to a variety of activities. As her students' progress, she uses self-assessment and goal setting to personalize each student's learning experience. Students use iPad video cameras and the iCoach app enabling them to analyze their performance. They use data from their Fitnessgram physical assessment to evaluate their fitness levels and make improvements towards established goals. Danielle's students use pedometers, pulse sticks, GPS units, and gaming systems. Danielle offers a variety of Project Adventure challenges to provide her students the opportunity to develop interpersonal skills and she designs lessons that frequently rely on peer coaching and assessment. In service to NYS AHPERD, she has served as the Northern Zone treasurer, secretary, student leadership awards chairperson, a member of the Zone awards committee and conference planning committee. She has also presented at local, Zone and NYS AHPERD Conferences. She has been honored with the Dorothy Arnsdorff Award from SUNY Cortland, the North Country, This Week's "Person of the Week" and she received the Northern Zone Amazing Person Award. Danielle's Principal said, "Danielle is one of the most outstanding educators I have met in my thirty years of education. She exemplifies all the qualities that an elementary school principal hopes for in their teachers. She is dedicated, compassionate, caring, and passionate about her work, enthusiastic, experienced, student-centered, driven to improve, open to new ideas, willing to go above and beyond, loves to collaborate with colleagues and is someone you would want educating your children."President Mergardt, it is my honor to present to you the recipient of the 2014 Elementary Physical Education Teacher of the Year Award, Danielle Bartow Grant.
The 2014 recipient of the NYS AHPERD Health Education Teacher of the Year Award is Nicole Holehan.
Nicole received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology from Nova Southeastern University, her Master of Science Degree in Health Education from Sage Graduate School and her Certificate of Advanced Studies in Educational Leadership from SUNY Plattsburg. She has been a health education teacher for the Shenendehowa Central Schools for the past seven years. Nicole's health education classes emphasize health-enhancing, skills-based learning utilizing various methodologies. She encourages student participation by using cell phone and tablet technology, and an interactive white board. She utilizes an e-packet and posts class materials online using Edmodo to be sure students who need more time to study the material or those who were not in class have the ability to access information. She created a blended model health education course, which offers an engaging 21st century learning environment through the use of active learning tools in a virtual classroom. This platform allows her students control over time, place, path and or pace for their learning. Nicole has presented at local, Zone and NYS AHPERD Conferences and was invited to present at the New York State Association for Computers and Technology in Education conference. Nicole was nominated for the Southern Saratoga County YMCA Educator of the Year. Nicole's director wrote "Nicole is resourceful, an innovator and a dynamic member of our health education department. Her enthusiasm and passion for teaching and for her students have hardly a rival on our staff. She has mastered the elusive art of being firm but fair, having rules yet maintaining relationships and keenly remembering that though she teaches health education, she is really teaching children whom she freely offers acceptance, guidance and life skills."President Mergardt, it is my honor to present to you the recipient of the 2014 Health Education Teacher of the Year Award, Nicole Holehan.
The 2014 recipient of the NYS AHPERD Secondary Physical Education Teacher of the Year Award is Laura Owen.
Laura received both her Bachelor of Science Degree in Physical Education and her Master of Science Degree in Exercise Physiology from Queens College. She has been a physical education teacher at White Plains High School for the past thirteen years. Laura was actively involved in recreating the physical education program at White Plains to meet the needs of the diverse population of students. She teaches fitness, Bigger, Faster, Stronger, Yoga and Pilate's classes, all aligned to the NYS Learning Standards. She teaches her students how to care for their bodies, how to eat right and how to communicate with others. She teaches them how to be good sports, how to positively resolve conflicts and to have empathy and understanding for others. Participation in sport and physical activity has given joy and peace to Laura and giving that gift to her students is the most rewarding aspect of her job. In service to NYS AHPERD, she is the Southeastern Zone President, a member of the Get Moving NY committee, the Zone membership committee and Co-Coordinator of the Election Day Conference. She has presented at local, Zone and NYS AHPERD Conferences. The Coordinator of Athletics and Physical Education at White Plains said, "Laura's commitment, dedication and passion for her students, athletes, the school community and her profession is unmatched. She is dedicated to creating a curriculum that teaches her students not only the benefits of living a healthy and active lifestyle, but also the importance of being "physically educated". Laura's greatest strengths are her passion for what she does and her ability to connect with her students." President Mergardt, it is my honor to present to you the recipient of the 2014 Secondary Physical Education Teacher of the Year Award, Laura Owen.
The 2013 recipient of the NYS AHPERD Adapted Physical Education Teacher of the Year Award is Kelly Schulz.
Kelly received her bachelor of science degree from Syracuse University and her master of science degree with a concentration in adapted physical education from SUNY Cortland. She has been an adapted physical education teacher and water safety instructor at Oswego BOCES for the past twenty years. Kelly has developed an Adventure Based Education curriculum and was a turnkey trainer for a low elements course. Kelly recognizes that each of her students has a varied background that influences their success. Knowing this, she treats each student with respect and allows them the opportunity to make decisions throughout each lesson, empowering them and demonstrating that she views their ideas and needs as worthy. She listens to their concerns and adjusts the activity to ensure each student feels safe and successful. In service to NYS AHPERD, she has served as the Adapted Physical Education Section Secretary and the Central North Zone Adapted Physical Education Section representative and conference planner. She has presented at local, Zone and NYS AHPERD Conferences. She has been honored as the Oswego BOCES Teacher of the Quarter, Central North Zone Adapted Physical Education Teacher of the Year, Aquatics Teacher of the Year and the NYS AHPERD Adapted Physical Education Section Amazing Person. Kelly is an active marathoner, triathlete and aspiring Adirondack 46er, with 4 mountains to go. Kelly's colleague said, "Kelly takes her job seriously and strives to expose her students to many life-long learning experiences; experiences that are limited only by her colorful imagination. Her activities are geared towards helping students recognize their true potential and abilities they didn't realize they had." President Sherman, it is my honor to present to you the recipient of the 2013 Adapted Physical Education Teacher of the Year Award, Kelly Schulz.
The 2013 recipient of the NYS AHPERD Elementary Physical Education Teacher of the Year Award is Ken Wojehowski.
Ken received his bachelor of education degree in physical education from Southern Connecticut State University and his master of science degree from Long Island University. He has been the Director of Elementary Physical Education in the Ramapo Central School District for the past 10 years. He is a team leader for the Student Learning Objective Committee, a member of the Wellness Policy Committee, Coordinator of the Elementary Physical Education Curriculum Development Team and a member of the Committee on Special Education. Ken treats his students as individuals, he allows everyone to have a voice, and seeks opportunities to highlight their achievements. He has established a non-threatening environment in his classroom, where mutual respect is exemplified at all times. Ken has created a unique curriculum, which revolves around progressive learning experiences. In the Catskill Zone, he has served as the treasurer, secretary and Zone president. He volunteered for "Get Moving NY" and has been newsletter editor and co-conference coordinator for the Zone conference. At the state level, he is a member of the advocacy committee and has presented at NYS AHPERD conferences. Ken was honored with the Ramapo Central School District Distinguished Publisher Award, the Special Education Parent Teacher Association Educator of the Year Award and most recently the Catskill Zone Amazing Person Award. Ken's principal said, "Ken understands that education is about children, and he strives to create a safe and comfortable learning environment in which his students can thrive. Ken's interactions with students are characterized by mutual caring and respect. He is sensitive to children's needs and treats them with fairness and dignity at all times. He continually acknowledges and praises students for their effort, participation and positive behavior." President Sherman, it is my honor to present to you the recipient of the 2013 Elementary Physical Education Teacher of the Year Award, Ken Wojehowski.
The 2013 recipient of the NYS AHPERD Health Education Teacher of the Year Award is Lindsay Armbruster.
Lindsay received her bachelor of science degree in health education, a masters of public health in maternal and child health from George Washington University and a master of science degree in curriculum design and instructional technology from SUNY Albany. She has been a health education teacher in the Burnt Hills - Ballston Lake Central School District for the past six years. Lindsay works diligently to ensure that her curriculum meets the needs of her students and addresses current events. The health education program at Burnt Hills - Ballston Lake is sequential and aligned throughout grades K - 12. She is currently working to create a skills based elementary health education curriculum. She plans learning experiences using the "project based learning" philosophy and has found these experiences provide students with a rich understanding, appreciation and enjoyment for the topic being studied. Lindsay is a member of the elementary health education curriculum team, she successfully advocated for the creation of adapted health education at the middle and high school levels. She is co-chair of the district PowerSchool Committee which is a student information system that reports directly to the Teacher's Association Executive Board and Representative Council. Lindsay is an active member of NYS AHPERD. She served on the Health Section Student Learning Objective Exemplar Committee. She has presented and presided at NYS AHPERD Conferences and has participated in the "Follow The Leader" program. She has been both the Capital Zone Future Professionals Section Representative and Health Section Representative. Lindsay was honored with the Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake Founders Day Award. Her colleague said, "Lindsay blends her expertise, her strong passion for reaching students, and her impressive ability to forge meaningful connections with students and colleagues to promote health and wellness with remarkable success." President Sherman, it is my honor to present to you the recipient of the 2012 Health Education Teacher of the Year Award, Lindsay Armbruster.
The 2013 recipient of the NYS AHPERD Secondary Physical Education Teacher of the Year Award is Jason Lehmbeck.
Jason received a bachelor of science in physical education and a master of science in health education from SUNY Cortland. He is currently studying at the University of Rochester to earn a masters degree in educational leadership. He has been a physical education and health education teacher at the Minerva DeLand School in the Fairport Central School District for the past seventeen years. Jason is a member of the Physical Education Steering Committee, the District Curriculum Council, he is the Leadership Asset Program Facilitator, and the Leadership Club Advisor. Jason's 9th grade curriculum includes, five core activities; fitness theory, fitness application, instructional swim, court games and a leadership class that incorporates curriculum related to bullying. His students are afforded the opportunity to select five additional electives. He believes that one of the most beneficial teaching methodologies is giving students choice and a variety of experiences. In service to NYS AHPERD, Jason is a current member of the Board of Directors, he is an Association Past President, as well as past President of both the Central Western Zone and the Secondary Section. Jason has given many presentations at both state and local conferences. He has been recognized as the Crystal Apple Teacher of the Year from the Minerva DeLand School, Central Western Zone Secondary Teacher of the Year, and the Secondary Physical Education and Central Western Zone Amazing Person Award. Jason's director said, "Jason is a natural born leader. When you talk to him and more importantly watch him with his students you realize quickly that he is unique. His deep curricular knowledge, his understanding of teaching pedagogy, his ability to communicate and connect with his students, and his passion for promoting living a healthy lifestyle separate him from the norm." President Sherman, it is my honor to present to you the recipient of the 2013 Secondary Physical Education Teacher of the Year Award, Jason Lehmbeck.
The 2012 recipient of the NYS AHPERD Adapted Physical Education Teacher of the Year Award is Justin Haegele.
Justin received both his bachelor of education degree in physical education and his master of science degree in physical education with a concentration in adapted physical education and pedagogy from The College at Brockport. He was an adapted physical education teacher at PS 255 in Queens, before beginning the PhD program in adapted physical education at Ohio State University this fall. For the past three summers, Justin has been the co-director of Camp Abilities Alaska. While at PS 255, an elementary school for children with Autism, he used the New York State Learning Standards to guide his program. Justin uses a variety of teaching methodologies to differentiate the instruction of physical activities for his students. He works diligently to represent the field of Adapted Physical Education with hard work, creativity and passion. His teaching, modifications and enthusiasm for his students is extraordinary. He has developed an expertise in visual instruction techniques and behavior management. Justin has presented 38 Conference workshops, is a Member at Large on the AAHPERD Adapted Physical Activity Council Board, and is the Action Editor for Palaestra, a quarterly publication dealing with adapted physical activity. He is on the Advisory Board of PECentral.org, he co-authored a textbook chapter in "Essentials of Teaching Adapted Physical Education" and has published two journal articles. He was honored by the Adapted Physical Activity Council as the Outstanding Masters Degree Student. Justin's colleague said, "Justin's character is defined by his passionate work in his field and the relationships he builds with his students and colleagues. Justin is a true model of a great teacher, influencing his students in the classroom, professionals in the field, and future teachers." When asked what he does for fun, Justin said "I am an adapted physical education teacher." President Quitoni, it is my honor to present to you the recipient of the 2012 Adapted Physical Education Teacher of the Year Award, Justin Haegele.
The 2012 recipient of the NYS AHPERD Elementary Physical Education Teacher of the Year Award is Colleen Mickle.
Colleen received her bachelor of education degree in physical education from SUNY Cortland and her master of science degree in elementary education from Russell Sage College. She has been an elementary physical education teacher at Guilderland Elementary School for the past 26 years. Colleen has coached cross country, track and field, volleyball and soccer and is the coordinator of the district wide elementary ski club. She is the creator and head coordinator of Hooked on Health, a district wide wellness committee. She had significant input in creating, writing and revising the current district wellness policy. She has served on the District Interview Committee, the physical education district cabinet, and is a member of the district physical education curriculum revision committee. Her gymnasium is a reflection of her enthusiasm for her program and her students. Her encouraging teaching style and intense work ethic are two of the reasons she has had a far-reaching, positive influence on the lives of her students. Colleen has coordinated a running club for 4th and 5th grades, entertainment for the PTA Harvest Dinner and Ice Cream Social and she has coordinated a Jump Rope For Heart event for the past 10 years. She is an active member of NYS AHPERD. She has been the Elementary Student Leadership Program Coordinator for the Capital Zone for the past twelve years and has been a long time volunteer planning and organizing the Capital Zone Conference. She has presented at the NYS AHPERD and Vermont AHPERD Conferences, the Capital Zone Conference and has presented to the Guilderland Board of Education and at NYS Teacher Center, Professional Development days. Colleen was honored with the Capital Zone Elementary Teacher of the Year Award, PE Central Best Practice Blue Ribbon Award, WTEN Educator of Excellence Award and the Guilderland Staff Recognition Award. Colleen's colleague said, "Colleen is student centered, grounded in solid teaching protocols and knowledge, and flavors her classroom with energy, excitement, and fun always with authentic, quality teaching and assessment." President Quitoni, it is my honor to present to you the recipient of the 2012 Elementary Physical Education Teacher of the Year Award, Colleen Mickle.
The 2012 recipient of the NYS AHPERD Health Education Teacher of the Year Award is Jennifer Aull.
Jennifer received both her bachelor of science degree and master of science degree in school health education from Hofstra University. She is currently enrolled in an Integrative Nutrition Program and will be a certified Holistic Health Counselor next month. She is a high school health education teacher at High School East in the Half Hollow Hills Central School District and an Adjunct Professor at Adelphi University. Jen is the advisor for the Peer AIDS Educators program and she advised students in the creation of an anti-bullying public service announcement. Her classroom curriculum is firmly based on the ten life skills, as outlined in the New York State Guidance Document. She believes in real life, real world, real audience assessment. Her philosophy includes respecting her students, colleagues, and parents and working collaboratively to create the best learning environment possible. Jen is an active member of NYS AHPERD. She recently served as the Executive Council Secretary for two years and is a current member of the Health Awards Committee. She has presented at both Suffolk and Nassau Zone Conferences. Jen was honored as the Half Hollow Hills Health Teacher of the Year in 2011. Her colleague said, "Jen possesses qualities that make her an outstanding teacher. She not only promotes wellness, she lives it every day. She creates a warm, welcoming classroom environment that fosters academic success. She encourages students to interact with each other, which enables them to build respect and tolerance within the school community. Through her commitment to physical fitness, nutrition, volunteer work and motivation to continuously further her knowledge of health, Jen exemplifies the role of an exceptional health education teacher." President Quitoni, it is my honor to present to you the recipient of the 2012 Health Education Teacher of the Year Award, Jennifer Aull.
The 2012 recipient of the NYS AHPERD Secondary Physical Education Teacher of the Year Award is Srecko Mavrek.
Srecko received his master of education degree in physical education from the University of Pecs, Hungary, and graduate certificates in football, sports medicine and content language and integrated learning. He is presently working toward his doctorate in exercise science. Srecko is a physical education teacher at Theodore Roosevelt Educational Campus in the Bronx. His lessons provide students with knowledge and skills to understand healthy nutritional habits, energy expenditure and connections between exercise and good health. He implemented the curriculum "100% Me" through which students learn the decision-making model and the six pillars of character, trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship. Srecko teaches students of diverse cultural backgrounds and he takes into account multiple factors to determine which learning styles are appropriate for each student. He gives his students the opportunity to be creative and express their individual strengths. He uses multidisciplinary lessons that integrate PE, 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 is the York City Zone president-elect and past president of the Exercise Science/Sports Medicine Section. Srecko has published numerous articles and has presented at international, national, district, state and Zone Conferences. He has been honored with the National Service Award from the Council for Aquatic Professionals, and the Exercise Science/Sports Medicine Section Amazing Person Award. Srecko's Principal said "Srecko's expertise in physical and aquatic education is highly appreciated. He has demonstrated passion and creativity in working with K-12 students in the under-served urban environment by delivering quality programs using technology and a wide variety of after school projects and initiatives." President Quitoni, it is my honor to present to you the recipient of the 2012 Secondary Physical Education Teacher of the Year Award, Srecko Mavrek.
Bios for the remaining Teacher of the Year Award Recipients are not available.