FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
AAPAR Names Debra Johansen Central District’s Adapted Physical Education Teacher of the Year
Reston, VA – Debra K. Johansen, developmental adapted physical education teacher in the St. Cloud Area School District 742, St. Cloud, Minnesota, has been named Central District Adapted Physical Education Teacher of the Year by the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD). Johansen was honored at a breakfast on April 2 at AAHPERD's Annual Convention in Tampa, Florida.
The breakfast was hosted by the American Association for Physical Activity and Recreation (AAPAR), a national association of AAHPERD, and sponsored by Sportime, an equipment distributor for sport and game equipment. AAPAR's Adapted Physical Activity Council administers the award in recognition of America's top adapted physical educators.
Johansen's dedication to her students, passion for her profession, and admiration of her peers and administrators exemplifies what this prestigious national award represents. Johansen has been a teacher for more than thirty years and currently teaches at Roosevelt Early Childhood Center in St. Cloud. She is the founder of ARISE, A Recreational Inclusion Support Endeavor, whose mission is to support children with disabilities in accessing community and recreation activities with their able-bodied peers and in learning leisure and recreational skills they can enjoy throughout their lives. She also develops specialized equipment to assist children to be active.
"Deb has created ingenious games and activities to incorporate reading and mathematical concepts into learning activities, while simultaneously building endurance, strength, and physical well-being," Marj Hawkins, director of early childhood services at Roosevelt Early Childhood Center, says. "Her positive attitude toward students and staff is contagious."
Johansen has coached girls basketball and track and won numerous awards for teaching, leadership, coaching, and service to those with developmental disabilities. She also served on the Minnesota Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities and has given numerous presentations on disability awareness.
"I regularly spend time in the hallways connecting with students, teachers, and parents. Every child needs that smile and a 'good morning,'" Johansen says. "I am so blessed to work in a community that believes in including all people, including those with special needs."
Presented annually, the Adapted Physical Education Teacher of the Year (TOY) award has been offered at the national level since 1995. In 2000 AAPAR's Adapted Physical Activity Council recognized the work of outstanding physical education teachers at the AAHPERD District level, with Sportime co-sponsoring the award. Teachers must submit an extensive application portfolio, including letters of recommendation from colleagues, supervisors, and parents as well as a video of their teaching.
AAPAR Communications Coordinator