Teacher of the Year
Petermann selected for national award
By Erik Buchinger
Clintonville’s Karen Petermann was named the National Elementary Physical Education Teacher of the Year by SHAPE America at the 132nd National Convention & Expo in Boston.
Petermann has been working in the Clintonville School District for 29 years.
“I’m honored and humbled in the fact that there were so many great physical education teachers out there,” Petermann said. “So many people brought so much to the table, and I respect them so much for that.”
SHAPE is the Society of Health and Physical Educators, and its award is given in recognition of outstanding teaching performance at the elementary school level and the ability to motivate today’s youth to participate in a lifetime of physical activity.
“I was excited for the opportunity to go to Boston and be part of the district winners,” Petermann said. “I had no idea that I would win it.”
Petermann said she got into teaching because of her mother.
“My mom was my phy-ed teacher,” Petermann said. “She was a role model everybody looked up to, always promoted and advocated for kids for disabilities and she was all about team and lifetime activities. She was my role model, and I wanted to be like her, so I followed in her footsteps.”
Petermann said her philosophy is to help kids reach their goals no matter the skill level and to prepare the students for activities later in life.
“My teaching philosophy is my commitment to challenging every student at their own level so they’re challenged to improve,” Petermann said. “Once they find success, they have the commitment to work hard for whatever it is. My commitment in elementary is to get them ready for middle school and high school. Hopefully, I can help them ready to get active throughout life.”
Petermann said she is proud of what she has been able to accomplish with the number of organizations she involves the students. These include the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, American Heart Association’s Jump Rope for Heart and Fuel Up to Play 60.
The Longfellow Running Club is one of Petermann’s biggest passions, she said.
“The biggest thing right now and my biggest passion is to our running club,” Petermann said. “We now have 120 people in the community and kids in the running club, and its phenomenal. We have so many volunteers that are a part of it. It’s because of them that our club is so successful.
“I think of the opportunities we’re able to offer kids as far as getting shoes and clothing for kids who don’t have them for running club,” Petermann said. “We always try to tap into resources for things they don’t have. Our community helps take ownership and helps kids become successful when they’re older.”
Petermann said her efforts are worth it because Clintonville is a small enough community to reach out and make a difference for kids.
“The fact that I get to make connections with so many great kids and their families is great,” Petermann said. “Clintonville is a relatively small community, and I feel we make difference in what we do. I like to watch kids grow and blossom and help them to achieve things they once thought as impossible.”