Casey Page and Kara Young

Casey Page and Kara Young earned the 2024 Society of Health and Physical Educators (SHAPE) America’s National Teacher of the Year award. Submitted photo

Two Kentucky educators, Casey Page and Kara Young, have been recognized with the 2024 Society of Health and Physical Educators (SHAPE) America’s National Teacher of the Year award.

The SHAPE America’s program recognizes educators within adapted physical education (PE), elementary physical education, middle school physical education, high school physical education, school health education and dance education.

An alumnus of Shelby County High School, Page has been teaching physical education for 11 years.

“It was just nice to get recognized,” he said. “I think sometimes I feel like there are so many teachers doing so many great things that it’s nice to get some recognition for that work.”

Page said being surrounded by teachers his whole life helped him decide to take a chance on education as a career and he now teaches Advanced PE. Young is a health and physical education teacher at duPont Manual High School (Jefferson County). She also is pleased with the recognition.

“I was completely overwhelmed,” she said. “As an educator, you don’t think that you deserve such an honor, but it was very overwhelming and exciting.”

SHAPE America’s Teacher of the Year award is a national award. To qualify for the program, educators must be named Teacher of the Year by the state affiliate and then at the district or regional level.

Both Page and Young won state recognition along with the district title, allowing them to compete for the 2024 national award.

Shape America is where “the best health and PE teachers in the country and even out of the country all come together,” said Young. “They are educators that I look up to and model my practice after.”

To be recognized for the outstanding work in their field, Page and Young had to meet certain criteria and requirements vary for each area of study.

Displaying their work through these criteria, Page spoke about his Advanced PE course, which is a class catered to lifetime sports and activities. He teaches sports like disc golf, canoeing, fishing and bowling. He also has his commercial driver’s license and works with his district to drive a bus to get the students out of the building when the unit allows for it.

“It’s all about them,” said Page. “My goal is that they will be comfortable enough with these sports and good enough that they can go play them on their own.”

Young also shared some of her teaching techniques within the health classroom. She said once she was named the district winner, she had to submit items like a 20-minute recording of her teaching, letters of recommendation and writing materials to compete in the national program.

“I’ve been so lucky to have administrators either backing me and willing to support me in doing those kinds of things and encouraging me to be a part of these organizations and go to these professional developments, whether it’s the national or the state ones. So, I’ve been really lucky to have that,” said Young.

Earlier this year, Young and Page were both recognized at the national conference surrounded by district winners from across the country.

“That was my first time going to a national conference and I got to meet so many really good PE teachers and it was great to meet all those people,” said Page.

Young encourages anyone who may be interested in being an educator to explore the health and physical education realm.

“Sometimes you can feel kind of like you are on an island by yourself at the schools, especially since like myself, where I am teaching PE this semester and then I’ve also taught health education,” said Young. “I’ve learned to be flexible, but I have fun every day and I genuinely enjoy coming to work.”