The Lawrence school district on Tuesday honored a longtime teacher who has spent more than a decade teaching elementary students about physical fitness.
Mike Martin, Prairie Park School’s physical-education teacher, received the 2009 Lawrence Elementary Teacher of the Year Award during a surprise assembly.
“Mike Martin is a natural teacher,” said Prairie Park Principal David Williams. “He possesses strong instructional skills and uses many strategies to engage his students. Children in his classroom enthusiastically participate and thrive on his creative ability.”
Martin, who earned a bachelor’s degree from Ottawa University, has taught at Prairie Park, 2711 Kensington Road, for 10 years, and last year he also took on teaching a PE class at the East Heights Early Childhood Family Center.
He is in his 13th year in the district, after also teaching elementary PE classes at Pinckney, Cordley and the former Riverside schools for three years.
“Mike takes great care in planning his units and lessons, keeping them age-appropriate, challenging and fun,” said Pat Grzenda, a school district adaptive physical-education teacher. “His classes include students with physical and cognitive challenges, as well as students with autism. He takes the initiative to find the solution for every student’s need.”
Superintendent Randy Weseman was on hand to help present the award to Martin as a surprise on Tuesday. The KU Credit Union also presented him with a $1,000 check.
“My family walked in the side door, and I kind of knew something was up, but I didn’t quite imagine something like this,” Martin said.
District administrators are expected to surprise the Secondary Teacher of the Year winner sometime today.
The district will nominate Martin and the secondary winner for the Kansas Teacher of the Year program sponsored by the Kansas State Department of Education.