SHAPE America’s Teacher of the Year Program:

A Message from the CEO to Salute a Valued Partner


We are excited about the changes ahead and the opportunity to expand The SHAPE America Teacher of the Year program even further with new partners.
This fall will signal a change, not only to a new school year with new classes and students, but also to one of new perspectives and focus. The SHAPE America Teacher of the Year program will be at the forefront of this effort.


Since 1983, the SHAPE America Teacher of the Year program has recognized teaching excellence across the physical education and health education landscape. SHAPE America is honored to have the opportunity to recognize its teaching members and shine a national spotlight on the amazing, dedicated, talented candidates from across the country. It has also proven time and time again to be a program that cultivates future leaders within our SHAPE America community.

One very special aspect of this program has been in place since 1989: our partnership with Sportime, the physical education brand of School Specialty, Inc. Over the past 30 years, our partnership with School Specialty, Sportime has ensured many opportunities to our Teachers of the Year, providing them with quality physical education equipment at deeply discounted rates for their programs, free conference presentation equipment, free apparel, and opportunities to travel, enabling them to present and share their ideas and innovative, standards-based practices with other teachers across the country.

In fact, School Specialty, Sportime has annually supplied physical education equipment for over 150 state, regional and national conference sessions presented by SHAPE America’s Teachers of the Year. Over the course of this partnership, hundreds of local schools have benefitted from physical education equipment donated by School Specialty, Inc. | Sportime, following use at these conference sessions.

Indeed, SHAPE America is truly grateful for the support and opportunity to work closely with School Specialty, Sportime to advance this important program. The mission of advancing professional practice by uplifting the Teachers of the Year to improve health and physical education would not have been possible without this sponsorship.

It is with this gratefulness in mind and in heart that we announce this will be the final year of the sponsorship by School Specialty, Sportime for the SHAPE America Teacher of the Year program. School Specialty, Sportime will continue to support SHAPE America's mission in new and exciting ways, including as sponsor of our 2019 Professional Learning Institute, “Exploring the Mind-Body Connection, Social & Emotional Learning in Health and Physical Education,” July 31 - August 1, 2019 in Sioux Falls, SD.

In the words of Doug Welles, Vice President of Category Sales, “We remain committed to supporting SHAPE America and our community of physical education and health education teachers. Moving forward, we are investing in resources to expand our professional development offering, health and nutrition resources, and lifelong fitness and wellness solutions.”

Finally, given the transition we are about to embark upon with this esteemed program, we recognize that this provides an appropriate time to pause and reflect on how we might improve, enhance and grow the SHAPE America Teacher of the Year program. To this end, SHAPE America is already in the process of identifying a group of diverse stakeholders who will examine the current state of the program and identify opportunities to make it truly inclusive and accessible, while still maintaining a level of rigor that ensures only our very best teachers are recognized.

The SHAPE America Teacher of the Year program is one of the most important programs we maintain as an organization and we will be forever grateful to School Specialty, Sportime for their investment and support of the program. And, as we move forward, we are excited about the changes ahead and the opportunity to expand the program even further with new partners.

For more information about the upcoming changes visit here.