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Local Instructor is Kentucky's High School Physical Education Teacher of the Year

Rhonda Smith, physical education and health teacher at Lloyd Memorial High School, was named Secondary Physical Education Teacher of the Year by the Kentucky Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance, a professional organization for Kentucky’s physical education and health educators.

To be considered for the annual award a teacher must conduct a quality physical education program following the National Association of Sport and Physical Education standards and guidelines. In addition, they must utilize various teaching methodologies and plan innovative learning experiences to meet the needs of all students, serve as a positive role model for personal health and fitness, exhibit sensitivity to the needs of all students, participate in professional development opportunities, and provide service to the profession through leadership, presentations, and/or writings.

Smith has been a teacher for 24 years, spending the first decade as a health teacher before coming to Erlanger-Elsmere Schools, where she has taught health and physical education for the last 14 years. She has also worked in a program for adults with developmental disabilities as a leisure recreation specialist.

“To say the least, this award is a great honor, and it means a great deal to me,” she said. “It means that what I do is appreciated and respected by my colleagues, who know what I am doing because they have been there.”

In addition to being an educator, Smith herself is a dedicated learner. She understands the importance of professional development and has immersed herself in KAHPERD, presenting on relevant topics at state and Southern District conventions and serving on the board. She is also an active, hands-on educator – having coached tennis, basketball and volleyball at Lloyd, and she currently coaches archery. She also works with the before school and after-school programs, both at Lloyd and at Howell Elementary.

Smith focuses on lifelong fitness. Her program includes orienteering, archery, team building, lacrosse, cricket, and more. She also invites local figures – including golf and tennis pros, and police officers – to teach special skills and enhance the learning experience.

She received the award at the KAHPERD’s annual conference in Lexington. Many Northern Kentucky physical education teachers and Wellness Alliance members attended. The district’s participation was funded through the PEP Grant.

“I would like to say that I have tried to conduct a quality program, even before the PEP grant, but since we have received the PEP grant, it has been even easier to conduct a quality program,” Smith said. “All the equipment is there, ready to use each day. This year my students will either meet local community members who will teach them, or have experiences in class with: golf, self-defense, fitness boxing, armed services boot-camp experience, dance choreography, canoeing, hiking, outdoor fitness, fishing, geo-caching/orienteering, disc golf, tennis, and CPR, among other things.”

From Erlanger-Elsmere Schools

Photo: Rhonda Smith (provided)