Kayla McGee, a High School Health Education Teacher at Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School in South Paris has been named the the Maine Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance (MAHPERD) 2021 High School Health Education Teacher of the Year Award.
Kayla provides learning opportunities that are authentic, appropriate, and relevant to her students. She has been transitioning to an emphasis on teaching skills vs. content that is directly correlated to the MLR and National Standards. She connects often with teacher coaches, teachers working with multilingual students, special educators, school counselors, and school nurses to make sure all students can access materials.
Teaching during the COVID-19 pandemic has allowed Kayla to create more innovative learning experiences and use a variety of teaching methodologies that she may not have otherwise. She creates learning opportunities that are real life experiences as well as fun and engaging. Kayla uses multiple learning platforms, communication tools, and assessments that meet the needs of all students regardless of their abilities, skills, or experiences in order to be successful in the health curriculum.
Kayla connects with her students by serving as a positive role model, sharing her love of physical activity and healthy eating, as well as acknowledging her own personal and family challenges. This has built trusting relationships with students, allowing them to share their own thoughts and journeys.
Kayla promotes an emphasis on seeking help and support through therapy, mindfulness, and general coping skills, and she is passionate about breaking down the stigma around mental health and substance use disorders.
She has served on the Maine AHPERD Board in a variety of positions since 2015. While at Lewiston, she presented social emotional learning activities to district staff and also worked closely with the Maine Integrated Youth Health Survey coordinator to ensure that students and staff understood the importance of the data collected. Kayla believes that a comprehensive approach to health education is a crucial part of students’ educational learning.
Perhaps the highest praise of all comes from students, and one of Kayla’s shared the following: “Mrs. McGee is one of the greatest health teachers I’ve had. She found a way to educate students on topics like drugs, mental health and different methods of birth control, without ever making it awkward for students. Mrs. McGee is a personable, passionate and fun teacher who takes the time to get to know each of her students, while still educating them.”
Maine Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance (MAHPERD) Honor Awards are presented to MAHPERD members in recognition of their excellence to their profession by demonstrating outstanding dedication to their students and profession. To learn more about MAHPERD visit maineahperd.org.