A Council Bluffs teacher has been honored with a statewide award.
Physical education teacher Billy Sanders was one of three recipients of the 2019-2020 Teacher of the Year Award from the Iowa Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (IAHPERD), according to a press release from Council Bluffs Community Schools. Each award is given to a physical education teacher that works in an elementary, middle or high school.
Sanders was surprised about the award but appreciative.
“It’s pretty neat to win recognition, especially when it’s something you are passionate about and do every day for your job,” he said.
Sanders teaches P.E. and health to sixth- through eighth-graders at Wilson Middle School.
“I have the opportunity to work with a wide range of students, from the athletes in the building, to students with challenging behaviors to students with significant disabilities,” he said. “This opportunity has pushed me to think outside the box. It has pushed me to look at the curriculum and truly understand what skill is being focused on and what that might look like for this wide variety of students.”
Teacher of the Year is awarded to teachers who conduct a comprehensive and diverse physical education (health or adapted) program, utilize various teaching methodologies and appropriate instructional practices, plan innovative and diverse experiences to meet the needs of all students and advocate for the profession. The IAHPERD also acknowledges years of professional involvement, distinctive leadership and distinguished service.
“I just try to make it so all of them are getting something,” Sanders said. “I rely on the students to help other students. Once I’ve created that atmosphere, it comes together. That’s working so far to help keep everybody engaged and inspired.”
“Billy makes sure his lessons are fun, engaging and able to be attempted by all students,” said Michael Naughton, principal of Wilson Middle School. “Through his engagement and constant movement, students have developed their ability to exhibit responsible behaviors in his classes and show their creativity during units where they are able to design games and exercises.”
Sanders has worked for the Council Bluffs Community School District as a physical education teacher since 2014. He is also the head coach for football and assistant coach for basketball, and recently became the activities director at Wilson Middle School this year.
Sanders completed his bachelor’s degree in physical education and coaching with a minor in athletic training and Bible in 2011 at York College and a master’s degree in administration from Concordia University in 2014.
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