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PE teacher honored as Southern District teacher of the year

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Crestwood resident Scott Gerlach of Oldham County High School will be honored as the Southern District High School Physical Education Teacher of the Year by the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD) at its 129th annual National Convention & Expo in St. Louis, Mo., April 1-5. The Southern District represents 13 states from Virginia to Texas. The award is given in recognition of outstanding teaching performance at the high school level and the ability to motivate today’s youth to participate in a lifetime of physical activity.

Gerlach, a physical education teacher at Oldham County High School for the past nine years, will vie with four other district winners for the distinguished honor of National High School Physical Education Teacher of the Year. At the convention AAHPERD, Sportime & SPARK, innovators of equipment and evidence-based programs for physical educators, will celebrate the 25th anniversary of this Teacher of the Year awards collaboration.

The National Physical Education Teacher of the Year Award recipients will be announced on Friday, April 4 at the AAHPERD Hall of Fame Banquet, sponsored by Human Kinetics, an employee-owned company committed to serving the physical activity field. Olympic legend Jackie Joyner-Kersee will also be inducted into the AAHPERD Hall of Fame that evening.

Gerlach knew he wanted to teach PE soon after graduating high school. Both his parents are retired PE teachers. “I really enjoy motivating my students by jumping into the activities right along with them,” he said, while his lessons and curriculum are based on the national standards, he conscientiously works to ensure that the element of fun is always present. “It’s the key to getting students on the path to a lifetime of wellness,” he said.

His PE class begins with an instant activity, from then on students are rarely sitting. With a class of 30, Gerlach says another key to successfully reaching PE students is incorporating different teaching methods to engage them all. A lesson in basketball, for example, will often times include a number of stations from self-check/self-teaching, to working in pairs, to guided discovery.

The award-winning educator promotes physical education school-wide through an annual Fitness Week. Many of the classroom teachers incorporate physical activities within their lesson plans and students help design the course for the culminating community 5K run.

Gerlach is also known district wide for creating the summer Fit for Life program. It has become so popular that there is always a waiting list to register year after year!

“Scott has become a curriculum leader and has transformed our traditional PE programs into a physical education experience,” said Associate Principal Richard Graviss. “He puts student-learning first which is evident in his unit plans and are some of the most detailed in the whole school. His thoroughness and attention to detail have long been respected, school-wide.”

Gerlach’s other significant achievements and honors in the field include Kentucky Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance Physical Education Teacher of the Year and National Board for Professional Teaching Standards Certification.

His professional affiliations include memberships in AAHPERD and KAHPERD.

The PE teacher received both his bachelor’s degree in Health and Human Performance and a master‚s degree in Teaching Physical Education and Health from the University of Louisville

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