Leigh is P.E. Teacher of the Year

Karen Leigh, pictured in center holding her plaque was named the West Virginia Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance Teacher of the Year. Also pictured flashing a thumbs up are some of Leigh’s students with superintendent Dr. Sara Stankus and principal Tristen Gray.

TENNERTON — A Tennerton Elementary School teacher has been presented with a statewide award for her work. Karen Leigh earned the West Virginia Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance Teacher of the Year award in October.

Leigh said she did not expect to win the award.

“I was shocked because I had no idea that I was even in the running for it,” Leigh said. “I thought I just filled out the application and that there were more qualified teachers in the state that would be more recognizable than myself.

Leigh said she has been an educator for 24 years and has previously worked at Buckhannon-Upshur Middle School, Buckhannon Upshur High School, Rock Cave and Washington District. A press release said Leigh is not just the physical education teacher.

She is also the summer basketball program assistant, planning coordinator for Buckhannon-Upshur High School band, Buckhannon-Upshur High School track volunteer, off season basketball program volunteer, autism mentor, county CERT member, Buckhannon-Upshur High School band vice president and is a member of the First Baptist Church in Buckhannon.     Some of her affiliations and activities include WV AHPERD Outstanding Coordinator of the Year 2010-2011 and 2016-2017, Staff Development Council and Physical Education Learning Communities in Upshur County Schools, member of Safety Care Response Team, Emergency Response Team and Crisis Response Team, Jump Rope for Heart Coordinator raising approximately $48,195, Hoops for Heart Coordinator raising approximately, $10,558, cooperating teacher for Physical Education college students and director for Rachel’s Challenge Field Day for Upshur County.

Leigh said she loves working with children and helping them stay active.

“I get to play all day long,” she said. “I’m always active. I get to play with the kids. I get to try new games with the kids so I’m always moving and I love working with kids,” Leigh said.

Leigh is now eligible for the national award that will be given in Tampa, Florida in April.

Principal of Tennerton Elementary School Tristen Gray said Leigh is always looking out for the children.

“Mrs. Leigh is the kind of teacher that comes to work, does her job and never asks for recognition,” Gray said in the release.“The thing about her is that she does so much behind the scenes, not just at Tennerton but for the Upshur County Schools, people would be amazed. She’s always doing something to help the kids of this school and this county.

Superintendant of Upshur County Schools Dr. Sara Stankus said she was proud of Leigh.

“We are so proud of Mrs. Leigh!” Stankus said in the release.

“To earn this recognition at the state level reflects excellence in her teaching approach as well as her professional growth and development.”

“Mrs. Leigh has served the families of Upshur County for 24 years,” Stankus said. “We understand that PE teachers must be good in the classroom, but they also have to be able to work with parents and other educators.

“Great PE teachers like Mrs. Leigh have range of skills beyond knowing sports, including interpersonal skills, creativity and more.”

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