A man stands with his arms crossed and smiles

Jordan Manley has been a physical education teacher at STEAM Academy in Lexington since 2015.
Photo provided by Fayette County Public Schools

Jordan Manley, a physical education teacher for the STEAM Academy (Fayette County), has won the SHAPE America 2023 National High School Physical Education (PE) Teacher of the Year award.

The Society of Health and Physical Educators, otherwise known as SHAPE America, is an organization that provides support for teachers in the health and physical education fields. It also sets guidelines and standards for physical education.

Manley, who has been at the STEAM Academy since 2015 and currently serves as wellness teacher, elective department chair and intramurals director, said he was honored to receive an award.

“I wouldn’t be the teacher that I am today without the support that I have received in my career from my colleagues at STEAM Academy, guidance from our partners at the University of Kentucky and Magnify Learning, and the courage of my students to allow me to shift their thinking about what physical education could be,” he said. “My students deserve just as much recognition as I do for the way that they embrace an approach to PE rooted in inclusion, cooperation, and creativity.”

Manley also said he wanted to acknowledge his wife and daughter for helping him pursue this career goal.

Manley said he’s motivated by the concept that physical education should be an “embodied experience” for students, and he believes a child’s physical education should revolve around their identity as opposed to sports-specific skills and fitness.

“My view is that if we are developing students with a movement identity and a positive relationship with their physical activity choices, then fitness and skill-related outcomes will develop as they engage with the broad movement cultures our world offers,” he said.

Manley previously earned SHAPE America’s Kentucky High School PE Teacher of the Year award in 2021.