Betty Ann Fish, of Springside Chestnut Hill Academy, was recently named National Elementary Physical Education Teacher of the Year (TOY) by SHAPE America – Society of Health and Physical Educators. Fish has been a physical education teacher and department chair at SCH for the past 28 years.
The TOY award is given in recognition of outstanding teaching performance at the elementary school level and the ability to motivate today’s youth to participate in a lifetime of physical activity. The national honor was announced on March 20 at SHAPE America’s 130th National Convention & Expo in Seattle.
At the convention, SHAPE America and SPARK & Sportime — innovators of equipment and evidence-based programs for physical educators — celebrated the 26th anniversary of this Teacher of the Year awards collaboration.
“As a lifelong learner, I am always challenging myself to find new methods to engage and motivate my students,” Fish said. “Through a mixture of traditional teaching methods, new technologies and 21st century teaching concepts, my students are exposed to a variety of activities.”
During Fish’s annual “heart adventure challenge course,” students move through an intricate set of mats, hoops and tunnels that simulate the chambers of the heart. They carry red and blue playground balls to show how blood flows through the heart and becomes oxygenated. Fish integrates technology into the lesson by having students use an iPad to film their partner going through the course, providing a scientific narration along the way.
“Betty Ann’s ‘secret sauce’ is that she is a loving, caring teacher and coach,” said SCH president Priscilla G. Sands. “Younger and older students simply adore her and they always have. Her adaptation of technology for use in the classroom has been celebrated nationally, as Betty Ann is asked to present at conference after conference. Educators from around the country are constantly turning to this extraordinary woman as a mentor and guide.”
Fish is always willing to show educators how to combine PE with strong academics. For example, she has written for the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), guest blogged for BrainPOP, did a workshop via Skype for the faculty at Emporia State University, and presented a webinar for the State of Texas to PE and classroom teachers.
When Fish is not busy teaching PE or participating in professional development opportunities, she spends time giving back to the local and global community. In 2014 she traveled to Honduras as part of the Roatan Expedition, distributing educational and medical supplies to schools, teaching ways to engage in physical activity, and even giving swimming lessons to local children who were afraid of the ocean.
Fish’s many honors include being named 2013 Elementary Physical Education Teacher of the Year by the Pennsylvania State Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (PSAHPERD).
Her professional affiliations include SHAPE America, PSAHPERD, ISTE, Association of Delaware Valley Independent Schools, National Field Hockey Coaches Association and Physical Education Professional Learning Community.
Fish received her bachelor’s degree in physical and health education from the University of Delaware and a master’s degree in health education from Saint Joseph’s University.