Press Release


Retired Linden Elementary School Teacher to Receive Highest Award from SHAPE America

RESTON, VA, March 15, 2016 – Dr. Shirley Holt/Hale, retired, physical education teacher at Linden Elementary School in Oak Ridge, TN, will receive the highest award given by SHAPE America – Society of Health and Physical Educators at its 131st National Convention & Expo in Minneapolis on Friday, April 8. Given in recognition of long and distinguished service to one or more of the professions, the Luther Halsey Gulick Medal, designed by sculptor R. Tait McKenzie, will be presented to Dr. Holt/Hale at the Hall of Fame Banquet Friday evening. 

"The Gulick Award honors an individual who exemplifies the highest standards in accomplishment, innovation and leadership," says SHAPE America President Steve Jefferies, professor emeritus, Central Washington University. "For over 40 years Shirley Holt/Hale has been a dedicated teacher and author. Nationally recognized as a premier leader in physical education and physical activity promotion for youth, she was the first elementary school physical education teacher ever elected to the highest office of SHAPE America." 

Other honorees joining Holt/Hale at the Hall of Fame Banquet will be Olympian Lindsay Whalen of the Minnesota Lynx, former NFL Pro-Guard Alan Faneca, the National Physical Education Teachers of the Year for elementary, middle and high school and National Teachers of the Year for adapted physical education, dance and health. The banquet is sponsored by Human Kinetics, an employee-owned company committed to serving the physical activity field. 

When asked what she considers her greatest professional accomplishment, Dr. Holt/Hale is quick to answer, "The teaching of over 4,000 students in elementary physical education, hopefully, with a lifelong love of physical activity and the skills for success in their chosen activity pursuit."For that dedication, the gymnasium at Linden Elementary School was named in her honor in 2013 with an inscription that reads, "For 38 years of teaching children's physical education with the joy and passion inspired by her mother."

In recognition of her teaching excellence, she was selected as the National Association for Sport and Physical Education (former NASPE) National Elementary Physical Education Teacher of the Year in 1988. Holt/Hale served as president for NASPE and AAHPERD (now SHAPE America); chairperson of the Physical Education Committee for National Board for Professional Teaching Standards; and was a member of the 1995 writing team for SHAPE America's National Standards for K-12 Physical Education as well as the 2014 revision of SHAPE America's National Standards with the addition of Grade-Level Outcomes. She also served as Tennessee AHPERD President twice and is currently serving as parliamentarian, chairperson of their Applied Strategic Planning Committee and a member of the Advocacy/Legislative Committee.  

Holt/Hale's professional honors include the Margie Hanson Distinguished Service Award, the Honor Award (state, district and national levels); charter member of the North American Society for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance Professionals; a member of the NASPE Hall of Fame, and the teaching of a physical education lesson on the lawn of the White House. She is the author of On the Move, co-author of Children Moving (9 Editions); the co-author of Planning Lessons for Elementary Physical Education: Meeting the National Standards & Grade-Level Outcomes (2016); and creator/writer of the SHAPE America professional development workshop, "Implementing the Elementary National Standards," available to school districts throughout the U.S. via SHAPE America.  

A graduate of Berea College, she received her master's degree from Eastern Kentucky University and her Ph.D. in early childhood education from Peabody/Vanderbilt University.  

For more information about SHAPE America's National Convention & Expo, visit the website and follow hashtag #SHAPEMinneapolis.


About SHAPE America
SHAPE America - Society of Health and Physical Educators is committed to ensuring all children have the opportunity to lead healthy, physically active lives. As the nation's largest membership organization of health and physical education professionals, SHAPE America works with its 50 state affiliates and national partners to support initiatives such as the Presidential Youth Fitness Program, Let's Move! Active Schools and the Jump Rope For Heart/Hoops For Heart programs.

Since its founding in 1885, the organization has defined excellence in physical education, and our resources provide the leadership, professional development and advocacy that support health and physical educators at every level - from preschool to university graduate programs. For more information, visit