Physical Education Department
MAHPERD- Teachers of the Year
The Massachusetts Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (MAHPERD) honored Valerie Meiners and Jackie Salvesen at their banquet in May 2019. Valerie was awarded the Adapted Physical Education Teacher of the Year, and Jackie was honored as Health Teacher of the Year.
Valerie spent eight years in Worcester Public Schools and Virginia before joining APS in 2015 as a K-8 adaptive physical education teacher. Adaptive physical education teachers are trained to evaluate and assess motor competencies, and create learning opportunities for students with special needs. Valerie treats each student with respect and her innovative lessons give children the best opportunity to enjoy physical education.
Jackie Salvesen is a 19-year veteran of APS, starting her career in health education at South Elementary before moving to the high school, where she teaches Seminars in Health and Yoga for the Mind and Body. Jackie developed the Yoga for Mind and Body course at APS for juniors and seniors; the class teaches all levels of skill and combines the physical and mental aspect of yoga. She works with special education teachers in order to be inclusive of students with varied abilities while maintaining a high level of respect in the classroom.
Jackie teaches health for juniors and focuses on skills-based programs to help students set goals and advocate for themselves. In health class, she encourages positive emotional health practices and empathy, while students are also are trained in CPR and taught the dangers of addiction. Jackie is the co-chair of SADD and provides many opportunities during the school year to further educate the student body about prevention of risky behaviors.
Jackie and Valerie were nominated as MAHPERD Teachers of the Year by Donna Ruseckas, Program Coordinator, Health and Physical Education at APS. Donna acknowledges all the talented and dedicated teachers at APS. She is thrilled that Valerie and Jackie are being celebrated as champions for health and wellness. Jackie and Valerie were surprised by their nominations and humbled to be chosen; both say it is validation of a job well done and strengthens their commitment to their students.