Susan Searls from Davenport School of the Arts has been named Florida’s Physical Education Teacher of the Year at the middle school level.
The award is presented by the Florida chapter of the Society of Health and Physical Educators (SHAPE). It recognizes exemplary PE teachers who teach comprehensive and diverse lessons while using practices that follow professional standards. The award also recognizes PE teachers who serve as advocates for their profession.
Davenport School of the Arts Principal Cindy Braaten said students look forward to PE class with Searls. She gives students choice and offers fun activities like archery, mountain biking and ultimate frisbee. Searls has also worked to expand opportunities for DSA students by pursuing grants for various fitness initiatives.
“She’s very consistent. She was awesome 15 years ago when I got here, and she’s still the same today,” Braaten said. “The kids love PE with her. She’s irreplaceable.”
Searls will be honored this month during SHAPE Florida’s conference in Orlando. She is now eligible to compete for SHAPE’s Southern District Middle School Physical Educator of the Year, which is given to one teacher from a 13-state region.
Searls is the second PE teacher from Polk County Public Schools to be honored by SHAPE Florida this year. Kirstin Voitus from Loughman Oaks Elementary was named the elementary PE Teacher of the Year.