Teacher Award

Derek Berns has been named Middle School PE Teacher of the Year for 2019. Berns, who taught physical education at Abilene Middle School for three years, is now assistant principal and athletic director.

Middle school is a good time to develop physical education habits.

For Abilene Middle School, having a PE teacher named Teacher of the Year would be a good habit to promote.

Derek Berns, PE teacher at Abilene Middle School, has been named Kansas Middle School PE Teacher of the Year by the KAHPERD (Kansas Association for Health — Physical Education — Recreation — Dance) for 2019.

Just six years ago, in 2013, Diane Wyatt, who retired at the end of last year, received the same honor. Wyatt went on to win National PE Teacher of the Year for that year.

Berns is no longer teaching sixth-graders through eighth-graders how to enjoy sports; he is assistant principal and athletic director this year. He also was assistant girls basketball coach and he’s coached multiple sports over his teaching career.

He came to Abilene from seven years at Chapman where he was named coach of the year for the 4A girls tennis team in 2013.

Wyatt nominated Berns for the award.

“It’s quite an honor to have the former Teacher of the Year nominate me,” he said.

The award won’t be announced officially until the KAHPERD convention Oct. 23-25 in Pittsburg. Abilene should be well represented with Berns, family members, principals and the district superintendent.

Teaching PE has changed quite a bit in just the three years he taught it, Berns said.

New to the program was a sports education unit. Each member of a football or basketball team has a job: manager, trainer, equipment handler, player.

“It’s a really, really cool thing,” he said.

An app called Teammates helps build teams that are evenly matched in skill.

Berns used Hellison’s Five Levels of Social Responsibility in Physical Education. The levels include self-control and respect for the rights and feelings of others, participation and effort, self-direction, and caring and helping.

The principles are reinforced in the sports education unit.

Although Berns no longer teaches PE, he is still eligible for the next levels of PE Teacher of the Year for 2019.

This week, he’s getting his information packet ready for the Central District PE Teacher of the Year for KAHPERD nomination.

If he wins that, it’s National PE Teacher of the Year, maybe, like Wyatt.

Contact Jean Bowers at reporter2@abilene-rc.com.

Contact Tim Horan at editor@abilene-rc.com.

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