In a remarkable acknowledgment of excellence, four health and physical education (PE) teachers from Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) have been recognized by the Society of Health and Physical Educators of Maryland (SHAPE MD). The distinguished educators, celebrated for their exceptional teaching and service, include Alison Cheney of the F.B. Gwynn Educational Center, Elaina Malone from John Hanson Middle School, Daniel Perrotta at Thomas Stone High School, and Alyssa Wheeler at Dr. Thomas L. Higdon Elementary School.

Four Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) health and PE teachers recently were recognized by the Society of Health and Physical Educators of Maryland (SHAPE MD) for their outstanding teaching and service. Pictured in the photo from left to right are Elaina Malone, health and PE teacher at John Hanson Middle School; Alison Cheney, health and physical education (PE) teacher the at F.B. Gwynn Educational Center; Daniel Perrotta, health teacher at Thomas Stone High School; and Alyssa Wheeler, health and PE teacher at Dr. Thomas L. Higdon Elementary School.

SHAPE MD honors select health and PE teachers in Maryland each year with the Simon A. McNeely Award. The criteria for this prestigious award encompass active involvement in school and community health, PE, recreation, or dance-related activities, current membership in SHAPE MD or a relevant professional organization, and a demonstration of outstanding teaching and service in their field.

Alison Cheney, a native of upstate New York, has always been passionate about being active and working with people. From teaching swim lessons for the American Red Cross to being a camp counselor, Cheney’s sports and physical education journey began early. She pursued a career in this field at Slippery Rock University and later earned a master’s degree from Canisius University. Cheney’s dedication extends beyond the classroom; she has been involved in coaching opportunities since high school and focuses on mindfulness and yoga in her current role.

Elaina Malone’s path to teaching was a natural progression from her love for school and great teachers. Having started as a substitute teacher and then a math and science teacher, Malone eventually found her place in Charles County. Her multifaceted role includes being the related arts department chair, a track coach, and a promoter of health and wellness, exhibiting a deep commitment to her students’ overall development.

Daniel Perrotta’s motivation to become a teacher was influenced by his experiences as a student. With over a quarter-century in education, he has demonstrated an ability to adapt and connect with students from various backgrounds. Perrotta emphasizes a welcoming and inclusive classroom environment and actively engages in various roles, including coaching and developing health and PE content.

Alyssa Wheeler, a Charles County native, has always aspired to teach. Her extensive involvement in sports during her youth steered her towards a career in physical education. Wheeler’s impact extends beyond teaching; she coordinates the All Kids Bike program and organizes community-engaging events, highlighting her dedication to student development.

Each of these teachers exemplifies the qualities of outstanding educators, not only in their teaching methodologies but also in their active participation and leadership within their school communities. Their recognition by SHAPE MD underscores their significant impact on their students and the broader community, fostering environments that promote health, physical education, and overall well-being.

David M. Higgins II is an award-winning journalist passionate about uncovering the truth and telling compelling stories. Born in Baltimore and raised in Southern Maryland, he has lived in several East...

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