Phys Ed teacher takes home national award!

A passion for active learning and living has landed one Red Deer Public teacher prestigious national recognition.

Nancy McKeage, Phys Ed Specialist at École Barrie Wilson School, received the National Award for Teaching Excellence in Physical Education presented by Physical and Health Education Canada, this past weekend.

“It’s very humbling. I have so many wonderful friends that are Phys Ed teachers - this award could have gone to any one of them. It feels amazing. I think that Phys Ed is one of the most important parts of your day and for that to get recognized speaks to what our school is all about,” she said. “The reason I was nominated for this award is because my principal believes in physical education and physical literacy - not just movement but being able to learn how to move your body properly. He has put me in a position where I get to teach Phys Ed all day.”

Chris Good, Principal said McKeage is very deserving of the award.

“Nancy is an incredibly talented and dedicated teacher. She runs a great PE program, and she is also a leader who has created a culture at our school that values wellness,” he said. “She is constantly looking for new ways to engage and excite students to get active both in and outside of the gym. The PE program she runs is innovative both in terms of the variety of activities and the way she ensures that all students participate in meaningful ways. Nancy's impact extends outside of the gym as she has found ways for students to get active in the hallways and in classrooms as well.”

McKeage began her teaching career at Eastview Middle School.

“My parents have always been very supportive with outside play. Right from the get go I learned how to fish when I was young and we were outside in the mountains all the time. I think my love of physical activity came right from there. My parents were very supportive of movement. Not all kids have that, so we try to support that here,” she said. “I’ve always been passionate about movement and people moving properly from skip, jump, gallop to ride a mountain bike down a tough type of terrain. I enjoy helping others become better in their movement as well.”

She added if you are confident in how you move, then you are confident in other parts of your life as well.

“It gives you that confidence to try new things or to stand in front of a class and do a little play or recite a poem or be an MC at an assembly,” she said, adding it also enhances student learning. “I find the more the kids move before they head to the traditional classroom, the less distracted steps they will take in that classroom. They are more ready to learn for the next 40 minutes or so.”