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Jason Wood Named 2007 PE Teacher of the Year

November 16, 2007 10:26 PM

Jason Wood of Lakeview Fundamental Elementary in St. Petersburg was named 2007 Physical Education Teacher of the Year at the 58th annual Florida Alliance of Health, Physical Education, Recreation, Dance and Sport (FAHPERDS) Conference in Orlando on Nov. 7.  Wood has spent the past 15 years as a PE teacher in Pinellas County and for the past 11, he has shared his love of PE with children at Lakeview Fundamental Elementary, a USTA Florida Organizational Member School.

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This has been a good year for Jason.  In 2007, he was a finalist for Pinellas County Schools' Outstanding Educator, and in fact won the Ambassador of the Profession category.  He sees PE as an opportunity to educate the entire child beyond just the three “R’s” – reading, writing and arithmetic.   

“We as Physical Educators have the privilege to teach students many life-long skills like how to maintain healthy fitness levels and how to practice good sportsmanship,” he said.  “We also introduce skills and/or sports that our students may use their whole life.  One of those life-time sports is tennis.”

Jason has implemented tennis into his in-school PE curriculum, a program near and dear to the USTA family. 

“During the tennis unit at my school, my students learn how to strike a ball with a [age-appropriate] racquet, how to follow the rules, the importance of following the rules, and they also learn about the health benefits from playing tennis.

"At the end of each school year, my fifth grade students have the privilege to go to a Tennis Fun Day sponsored by the USTA where they can learn from local tennis professionals.  They always come away with useful tips and fun stories.”

Jeff Davis, USTA Florida Region 3 community coordinator, assists Jason with his tennis programs as needed, and says Jason is one of the best teachers that delivers tennis to children in school.

“The State award is certainly well deserved in recognition of his dedication to physical education and his students at Lakeview Fundamental Elementary,” said Jeff.

His care for education and physical activity is truly commendable, and it is no surprise to see why the Pinellas County School District and FAHPERDS have recognized his teaching abilities. In 2004, Jason was the district's PE Teacher of the Year and most recently, he serves as president of the Pinellas County Health, Physical Education and Driver Education Association.  When he first found out about his 2007 Physical Education Teacher of the Year award, “I was stunned,” he said.

“I know of many of the past winners and I am just honored and humbled to be a part of such a great group of educators. This recognition does mean a great deal to me but I feel it is not just my award but belongs to all of the great kids I teach at Lakeview, the awesome colleagues at my school and my fellow Physical Education Teachers who have been a great influence in my career.”

USTA Florida appreciates Jason’s hard work and commitment to physical education, and especially for bringing tennis to the lives of hundreds of children.  There are many who like their jobs, but Jason is one who truly loves his.

“Probably the greatest joy I have is the chance to get to know the kids I teach and know that I am making a difference in their lives.  I love seeing kids that I have taught years ago and hearing them tell stories about their PE classes in elementary school from when I taught them, and then seeing how successful they are now as young adults.”

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