Drop into Donna Moore’s gym class at Julia Randall Elementary School and you’ll see a flurry of activity. From students dancing with an interactive video game to circuit training and every sport in between, Moore’s goal is getting students excited about fitness through every means available.
Moore’s enthusiasm for personal fitness and teaching were recently recognized on a county and state level.
In September, the Arizona Rural Schools Association selected Moore as Gila County Teacher of the Year.
On Nov. 5, the Arizona Educational Foundation recognized Moore as one of four ambassadors for excellence in the state.
The title of Arizona’s Teacher of the Year, which Moore was nominated for, went to Joy Weiss, a first-grade teacher at Balsz Elementary School in Phoenix.
As an ambassador, Moore will serve as a spokesperson for physical education and make presentations statewide to education, civic, government and professional organizations.
In addition, she will receive a $5,000 cash reward, a laptop from Intel Corporation, professional speech training, and a scholarship from Argosy University for 50 percent of the cost of tuition toward a master’s or doctorate in education.
Other ambassadors honored include: technology/reading teacher Cynthia Rolewski at La Cima Middle School in Tucson; kindergarten teacher Barbara Tingle at Sahuarita Primary School in Sahuarita; and science teacher Jamie Valderrama at Higley High School in Gilbert.
Moore has taught physical education at JRE for the last five years.
She teaches an alternative program called “dynamic physical education” which stresses keeping students moving throughout class and avoids using traditional physical education activities like dodgeball and running laps.
Coupled with teaching healthy eating habits, Moore feels her program can help fight childhood obesity, which is growing every year. Nearly one-quarter of third- through eighth-grade students are already overweight in the Payson school district.