Two teachers for Fayette County Public Schools are among the 22 finalists nationwide for 2021 Teacher of the Year awards from the Society of Health and Physical Educators (SHAPE America).

A picture of a smiling woman.

Lydia Austin

Lydia Austin of Brenda Cowan Elementary is the Southern District Dance Teacher of the Year, and Mary Jo Geddes of Tates Creek High School is Southern District Health Teacher of the Year. They will compete with finalists from three other regional districts for the national honor, which will be announced during SHAPE America’s virtual national convention in April.

Austin, a teacher for 16 years, is in her second year at Brenda Cowan Elementary where she teaches dance and physical education.

“I want all of my students to be thinking movers,” she said. “Students not only get to be physically active when they come to my class, but they also have the chance to create. That’s what’s so cool about dance. Students get to express themselves through movement.”

Picture of a smiling woman.

Mary Jo Geddes

Geddes has taught for 18 years, all of them at Tates Creek High School. She is the department chair/team lead at Tates Creek and the district content leader for secondary schools.

“Building relationships with my students has been one of my goals this semester while teaching virtually,” she said. “I feel like I know my students even though I haven’t met them in person yet. In the health world, I focused on the pertinent health skills needed right now to be successful in our society.”