MA Secondary PE Teacher of the Year

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Congratulations to our Massachusetts Secondary Physical Education Teacher of the Year, Jean McNerney!

Jean McNerney, Physical Education teacher at South High School has been chosen as Massachusetts Secondary Physical Education Teacher of the Year by the Massachusetts Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance organization. Jean was chosen over every other secondary physical education teacher in the state because of her leadership at South and the PE department, forward thinking in wellness and PE, community involvement and her ability to set a culture within her school.

Jean graduated from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst with a Bachelor’s degree in Physical Education and began her career working in the field as a YMCA Fitness and Day Camp Director in Massachusetts. She welcomed the opportunity to work with people of all ages, abilities, and interests and as she learned to teach, create, and market new youth, adult, and family programming during her 10 year tenure.

Jean moved to South Florida and earned her Master of Science Degree in Health Education and Exercise Physiology from Florida International University in Miami. Her administrative and teaching experiences as the Wellness Center Director at Miami Dade Community College and the Wellness Department Head at Broward Community College were rich in cultural diversity and professional growth opportunity. After 11 years in the educational arena, Jean ventured into the corporate sector in her new post as the Health Education Advisor for Humana Health Care. There she hit the ground running as she developed, marketed, and implemented health education programs for Medicare members residing in five South Florida counties.

In 2001, Jean transplanted back to her native Massachusetts and began teaching Physical Education at South High Community School in Worcester. She found a home away from home in the rich, cultural diversity and warmth of the South High students and staff. Recently, Jean has been focused on developing a system of student-centered self-assessments designed to engage students in the process of their own learning via a method she’s coined as "Know-Go-Grow-Show". Jean’s goal is to make learning a personal and tangible experience that gives students opportunities to benchmark their knowledge-base, go try motor skills, grow their skill levels, and show how they improved both their knowledge and motor skill proficiencies.

In addition to her teaching, Jean serves as South High’s Health & Wellness Ambassador and has created a ‘SWELL’ campaign that invites students and faculty to be part of a movement that supports kindness and wellness initiatives in the school setting and community. Recently, Jean was recognized by the Worcester Public Schools for her Kindness Joy Maker Campaign Project work with South High students. The grant she secured from Generation On provided 100 Hasbro toys to the school to be gift wrapped and distributed to the community. The South Student Kindness Ambassadors wrapped the toys and distributed them at Christmas to youngsters at a Worcester community shelter and the rest to families of South High’s own.

This year is Jean’s ninth year volunteering as the South High Bowling Coach. The program provides 30 students each year with an opportunity to learn how to bowl, compete in games, and have fun in a safe community environment. The South High Bowling Team has won the High School Championships five years in a row, and placed second twice over the years. She enjoys collaborating with fellow faculty to promote positive programs and her work on ‘Stand for the Silent’ Anti-Bullying Campaign engaged over 500 students. Jean also worked closely with the South High Administrative and Academic Teams to promote team-building activities for over 200 ninth grade students. Additionally, Jean has served as a Professional Learning Facilitator, as a School Health Advisory Council member, and Faculty Mentor.

Jean’s message and belief is that 'Wellness is a way of Life. Begin each day anew'.