Ankeny’s Northview Middle School physical education teacher Jodi Larson has been named the 2011 Middle School Physical Education Teacher of the Year by the Iowa Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance (IAHPERD). She was selected from PE teachers across Iowa based on criteria such as planning innovative learning experiences to meet the needs of all students, serving as a positive role model epitomizing personal health and fitness, and providing service to her profession through leadership, presentations, and/or writing.
As the Iowa Middle School PE Teacher of the Year, Larson now moves on to District consideration, in which a winner will be selected and submitted to the National PE Teacher of the Year competition.
“I’m a very dedicated person by nature. I’m a farm kid who was raised with the idea that you work hard and you play hard. For me, it’s just the recognition of hard work, but the hard work of our whole team. I do put my whole heart and soul into my work, and I always try to do what’s right for kids. I think hard work pays off,” said Mrs. Larson. “I’ll say it a thousand times, I couldn’t have gotten here without the PE team that I work with. Everything that we’ve done, we’ve done together.”
Jodi went into special education originally. She observed that elementary kids loved PE! But as time passed and students headed into middle school they quickly began to lose that love.
Larson sees the role of the PE teacher in 2011 as one that prepares students with lifelong skills. “There comes a time in kids’ lives where there isn’t a coach to train them, or there isn’t a physical education teacher to train them, and the question becomes, ‘Do they have the skills they need to be successful?'” says Larson. “It’s not just about being active today, but about teaching skills that help students stay active in their 20’s, 30’s and beyond. So a big piece of the puzzle for me is helping kids find things to do that they really enjoy.”
“We are extremely fortunate and proud to have teachers like Jodi Larson on our team at Ankeny Schools,” states Dr. Matthew Wendt, Superintendent of Schools. “Jodi has passion for her work, a vision for health and wellness, and truly understands our mission to prepare every learner for a lifetime of personal success.”
“Jodi Larson is a teacher who is energetic, visionary, positive, collaborative, and results-focused,” said Northview Middle School principal Jill Urich. “Her leadership has fostered growth among her peers, which has ultimately impacted the learning of all students at Northview.”
Jodi is a long time member of PEI and we are all very excited for her well deserved honor.