Washington Irving physical education teacher Shana Classen has received two awards recently recognizing her for outstanding teaching practices by a health educator. First, she was named the 2017 Oklahoma Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance (OAHPERD) Health Education Professional of the Year for PK-12.

Then, she went on to beat out 12 other state winners to be named the Southern District Teacher of the Year for Health Education.

Surprisingly, Shana says teaching some aspects of physical education did not come naturally to her.

“When I started teaching, I was extremely uncomfortable teaching dance. Physical education teachers at Washington Irving helped with choreography for the music programs and ironically, dance is now something I have chosen to embrace by teaching monthly dances. Now, it’s a part of the school’s culture,” she explained.

Washington Irving is part of the “Healthy Schools OK” (HSOK) program, formerly known as “Schools for Healthy Lifestyles.”  Classen says she’s grateful HSOK provides professional development opportunities, curriculum, materials, funds and access to community partners, so that students can learn about and practice healthy lifestyles.

“My co-teacher, Kelly Dunagan, and I have acquired two Action BasedLearning (ABL) Labs from HSOK and Cox Communications grants. We utilize the ABL labs for weekly health classes for grades 1-4,” she said.

Shana also collaborates with her colleagues on a Jump Rope for Heart event, running club, walking program, monthly dances, and a health fair.

“I have a passion for physical education and health, because active and healthy students make better learners.”

Washington Irving Principal Kimberly Frank says Shana is always going above and beyond in her approach to physical education.

“With her degrees in both physical education and counseling, she has the unique ability to reach students and motivate them to move,” Frank said. “She keeps physical education fun, fresh and enjoyable for students.”