MAHPERD Honors 6 Maine Undergrads as Outstanding Future Professionals

The Maine Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (MAHPERD) recently honored six Maine students as Outstanding Future Professionals.

The award recognizes Maine undergraduate students for their accomplishments as higher education students studying Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance; for their involvement in university organizations; contributions to the community; professional potential/leadership qualities; and individual accomplishments, honors, and awards.

Outstanding Future Professionals Awardees:

Curtis ShepardCurtis Shepard
University of New England

Curtis is a senior at the University of New England, majoring in Sport and Recreation Management. He has worked at Vermont Lake Monsters, a summer league collegiate baseball team, in various positions to gain experience in a variety of management roles and responsibilities. He has also interned at the University of New England Athletic Department where he gained daily experience with different operations and functions of NCAA Division III Athletics. Curtis is looking forward to participating in more leadership and volunteer positions in sport and recreation in the future.

One of Curtis’s professors wrote that, “Curtis is one of the most diligent and responsible students. He is always curious and eager to learn and is never in a bad mood. He’s the first to volunteer to answer a question or work in a group. He brings a positive influence to the class.”

Jonah HudsonJonah Hudson
University of Maine at Presque Isle

Jonah is a junior at the University of Maine at Presque Isle majoring in Physical Education. Jonah has been the Vice President of the Physical Education Major’s club for the last three years, he has played on the men’s soccer team for 2 years, and played on the men’s basketball team for a year. Jonah also coaches JV High School Softball and Soccer and substitute teaches at MSAD #1 (which consists of students from Presque Isle, Mapleton, Chapman, Castle Hill, and Westfield). Jonah also was captain of three sports and participated in Drama Club in high school.

A professor of Jonah’s wrote that, “Jonah is certainly one of the most dedicated and hardworking young men I have ever had the privilege of working with here at the University. He is an outstanding role model to both his fellow students as well as his teammates on the field.”

Savannah RodriguezSavannah Rodriguez
University of Maine at Presque Isle

Savannah is a junior at the University of Maine at Presque Isle majoring in Physical Education (PE). Savannah participates in various ways at the University and in the community. She has been on the Women’s Soccer team for the last three years and is the head of the Softball Program at the University. She has also filled the role of President and VP of the PE Majors Club on campus as well as being a member of the Leadership Committee. In the community, Savannah has volunteered at the Special Olympics, Northern Maine Fair, and at different schools as a classroom helper, in addition to coaching at Wildcat Soccer and Basketball Camps. In the school year of 2019-2020, she received the award for Female Break Through Athlete of the Year.

Her professor wrote that, “Savannah has been an active leader in both our athletic and academic programs. She is the type of person who will see what needs to be done and will do everything in her power to see that the job is completed to the best of her ability. She is certainly a true leader in every sense of the word.”

Matt FarnhamMatt Farnham
University of Maine at Orono

Matt is a Senior at the University of Maine at Orono majoring in Physical Education and Coaching. He is a member of Maine’s Gamma Omicron chapter of Kappa Delta Pi, which is an international honors society for education majors. Matt has been a long-term Physical Education substitute for the Patricia A. Duran school in Hermon where he has taught virtual lessons for 4th grade students and in-person lessons for grades 1 through 3. Prior to this position, he was an Ed-Tech in the Hermon School Department. In addition to working in the school, Matt has worked as an assistant coach for the Hermon football team for the last 8 years. Three of those years he coached the 7th & 8th grade team while the other 5 years he coached the Hermon High School varsity team. Matt has also worked as the program leader in Hermon’s Recreation Department for the last 8 years where he has organized camp-wide activities for campers aged 5-14.

A professor of his wrote that, “Matthew has repeatedly demonstrated leadership, professionalism, innovation, and dedication to the profession. His instructional skills, dispositions, and high personal standards drive him to excel in any situation.”

Sierra McLellanSierra McLellan
University of Maine at Orono

Sierra is a senior at the University of Maine at Orono majoring in Kinesiology. Sierra was appointed the position of Panhellenic Delegate for Alpha Phi Fraternity her freshman year at UMaine. She was a member of the Executive Council where she was able to contribute valuable opinions, ideas, and content to represent her chapter to the rest of the Greek community. She was appointed to VP of the Membership Recruitment for Alpha Phi her Sophomore and Junior year where she could engage and empower others in joining. To top it all off, Sierra was a founding member of the Physical Education Student Organization at UMaine to promote health and wellness on campus and in the Orono community. These accomplishments have allowed Sierra to participate in other community events such as BOKS (Build Our Kid’s Success), hosting the annual Healthy High 5k and 10k race, and leading morning physical activity at the local elementary schools with UMaine athletic teams and future Physical Educators.

One of her professors wrote that, “Sierra is positive, compassionate, organized, and disciplined. These qualities have helped drive her success here and will catapult her to new heights as she prepares for a professional career in teaching.”

Maddie CormierMaddie Cormier
St. Joseph’s College

Maddie has worked in different elementary schools in Bangor as an Ed-Tech for 3 years when she is on break. She has volunteered at elementary schools, been an organizer for a fair fundraiser, as well as participated in other community based projects such as Fitter than a Fifth Grader, worked with Teens to Trails, and observed Physical Education classes in Bangor elementary schools and Windham High School. Maddie is on the Women’s soccer team at St. Joseph’s College. With a deep passion for coaching, Maddie has spent the past two years coaching 7 and 8 year old players in the Bangor Soccer Club. In addition to all that, she also received the Triumph of Diversity Presentation in 2021.

A professor of Maddi’s wrote that, “she is a highly motivated, successful individual. It was evident from the first meeting that Maddi was goal oriented and going to have a positive impact on anything she set out to do. She is a true team player on and off the field and is outstanding with students. She is a truly dedicated and committed individual.”

To learn more about MAHPERD visit maineahperd.org.

MAHPERD Honors Maine Family Planning with Community Award

Maine Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance (MAHPERD) recently recognized Maine Family Planning and the work of Lynette Johnson, Vicki Preston and Maddy Magnuson with their Community Award.

The Maine Family Planning organization responded to the shift in education practices due to the pandemic by not simply revising the Best Practices curriculum program, but also developing materials and even a “virtual classroom” to support hybrid or remote instruction of students. This team supported the professional learning and instruction of health teachers across the state by effectively harnessing technology for teaching.

Maine Family Planning’s board and staff are extremely proud of the work of Lynette, Vicki and Maddy. They applaud their efforts to provide the latest evidence-based sexuality information for STI/HIV and pregnancy prevention to teachers across the state, as well as mastering the technology needed to present this material in a virtual setting. Congratulations to these outstanding individuals.

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.

Kayla McGee Named MAHPERD High School Health Education Teacher of the Year

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.

Heather Geoghan Named MAHPERD High School Physical Education Teacher of the Year

Heather Geoghan, a High School Physical Education Teacher at Greely High School in Cumberland, has been named the Maine Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance (MAHPERD) 2021 High School Physical Education Teacher of the Year.

Heather works to ensure that students are learning all aspects of the program, and hopefully much more than movement skills, game strategy, and fitness concepts.  She covers the SHAPE America learning standards in each class, teaching a wide variety of motor skills and movement patterns as well as allowing students ample opportunity to practice these skills.

Heather has updated the physical education program to allow students to choose from a wide variety of offerings, allowing them to try something new or expand on current knowledge in a specific area of interest to them.  Students consistently share with Heather how surprised they are that they were able to make significant gains during the semester.

One of her main goals is for students to leave the semester with adequate knowledge and a toolbox of minimal or no-equipment workouts that they can create and continue on their own after class ends. One of Heather’s general class expectations focuses on student’s attitude, effort, and inclusion of all. She works hard to ensure that the gym, field, track, pool, and court are a places that all students feel comfortable and welcome. She firmly believes that classroom management and the environment comes from the tone set from the teacher.

In response to the pandemic, Heather created an entire curriculum through Google Classroom, in which students were able to successfully complete assignments at home and demonstrate their work through data, photos, videos, and fitness log completion for each assignment. She collected over 20 GPS fitness trackers and watches from friends and community members who were willing to donate their devices so that students could track work at home.

Heather has demonstrated a remarkable ability to connect with young people, a keen and unique ability to develop and teach physical education curriculum, and an organized and detailed approach to schoolwide matters.  She is an energetic and passionate teacher of physical education with a demonstrated focus on meeting students where they are, getting to know them, and setting expectations for them in collaboration with their interest, ability, and motivation.

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.

Stacey Turkington Named MAHPERD Richard H. Bartlett Adapted Physical Education Teacher of the Year

Stacey Turkington, Adapted Physical Education at RSU 14 serving the Sebago Lakes communities of Windham and Raymond has received the the Maine Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance (MAHPERD) 2021 Richard H. Bartlett Adapted Physical Education (APE) Award.

Stacey has been providing adapted physical education for students for 17 of her 22 years with RSU 14. In these years she has thoughtfully prepared appropriate modification of traditional physical education (PE) activities and equipment adjustments for those with a disability so they can partake in the traditional PE classroom. Stacey has provided these services with genuine care and concern, all the while putting the student first.

Her nurturing approach was recently recognized when she was nominated anonymously for the annual Dr. Richard H. Bartlett Adapted Physical Education Teacher of the Year Award. Between the anonymous recommendation and a letter of endorsement by Principal Dr. Kyle Rhoades of Windham Primary School, Stacey was chosen as this year’s winner.

“Countless learners from our district have benefitted from Stacey’s hard work and gentle touch,” Dr. Rhoades said in his letter. “When observing her with children, you know they want to work with her because of how she presents herself. Learners feel this confidence and grow from the safe feeling created.”

Stacey believes that being physically active is imperative to a student’s overall health and it is for this reason she puts heart and soul into her work – and into the students she works alongside.

To develop quality programs for her students, Stacey starts with observing a student ideally in their regular Physical Education class, at recess, with PT/OT therapists, and/or in their classroom. After reflection on the data collected, she shares her results with the student’s IEP team to determine the best program for each student.  Stacey continually checks in to ensure the program developed is meeting the student’s needs and completes an assessment at the end of the year.  While Stacey’s focus is quality APE programming, she doesn’t take credit for all her learners’ success because in her words “in the long run, it is actually a team approach.” Working with learners with disabilities involves so much more than just teaching.  It involves a lot of human development research and medical advancements.  Stacey is constantly learning new techniques and adding more and more tools to her toolbox.

“Running from school to school can take its toll and I must admit that there are challenging days,” says Stacey. “But it is the passion that keeps me going – that and the love for the kids. What I love the most about my job is that I have the pleasure of working with students from primary school to post-graduation. I get to work with most students from the age of 5 and watch them grow until the age of 21 when they age out of the program. It is an honor to work with these students and it is the most rewarding job EVER!”

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.