FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
AAPAR Names David Martinez National Adapted Physical Education Teacher of the Year
Reston, VA – David Martinez, adapted physical education specialist in Georgia's Cherokee County School District, has been named National Adapted Physical Education Teacher of the Year. Martinez was honored at a breakfast on April 2 at the Annual Convention for the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD) in Tampa, Florida.
Only one of ten nationally certified adapted physical educators in Georgia, Martinez teaches at Buffington Educational Service Center in Canton, Georgia. He is also a part-time instructor at Kennesaw State University. From 1994 to 1998 he was an adapted physical educator in Pasco County School District, 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. Martinez's dedication to his students, passion for his profession, and admiration of his peers and administrators exemplifies what this prestigious national award represents.
Martinez is co-author of Resource Guide: Movement Experiences for the Pre-K Child and has been a "tireless advocate for his students with disabilities…consistently and conscientiously [delivering] expert services," says Pam Ballato, special education supervisor at Cherokee County School District. In addition, he has volunteered with local and state community organizations, including the Special Olympics, Sunshine Camp, and the Pickens County Volunteer Fire Department. He created the Cherokee Ability Games, an extramural sports program designed for students with severe orthopedic and sensory impairments.
Besides coaching several sports, Martinez inspired Atlanta-area volunteers, parents, and businesses to provide additional after-school athletic opportunities for students with disabilities. He also initiated school changes to create opportunities for Special Olympians to earn high school varsity letters. His advocacy efforts were recognized in 2003 by the South Cherokee Optimist Club, who honored Martinez for Achievement in Education, and again in 2006 when he received the Distinguished Service Award for Outstanding Coach for Special Olympics Georgia. Martinez's students and their parents praise him as their "greatest advocate" and for inspiring students to try new things by stepping outside of the comfort zones.
"My ultimate goal is to encourage my students to live physically active lifestyles throughout their lifespan," Martinez said, which he does by introducing exciting experiences and encouraging his students to participate in school and community programs.
Presented annually, the Adapted Physical Education Teacher of the Year (TOY) award has been offered since 1995. Sportime International joined AAPAR in 2000 to co-sponsor the award and add amenities to the honor, including a complimentary year's extension of their AAPAR membership, a subscription to Palaestra, a warm-up suit, and a seat on Sportime International's Advisory Board. 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