Originally published Feb. 4, 2021 by Tap Into Cranford.
By Robert Ramirez
Congratulations to Mrs. Whitney Taylor, a physical education teacher at Walnut Avenue School and Livingston Avenue School, on being named the NJAHPERD (New Jersey Athletic Health Physical Education Recreation Dance) Elementary Physical Education Teacher of the Year.
"I am so honored to be named the NJAHPERD Elementary Teacher of the Year," said Taylor. "I am so fortunate to be in such supportive schools with incredible colleagues and administrators. Being a part of NJAHPERD for the past 10 years has pushed me to be innovative and think outside the box to make the physical education experience as positive as I can for my students. I love what I do and my passion for teaching continues to grow after receiving recognition like this amazing award."
Taylor has been working in the Cranford Public Schools district for eight years. She spent the first six months of her career at Cranford High School before moving over to Walnut Avenue School and Livingston Avenue school for the past seven and a half years.
"This award validates all the hard work that Ms. Taylor has put in over the years in Cranford developing innovative lessons, working on grants, and putting together special events for students," said Darren Torsone, Director of Athletics, Health and Physical Education. "Ms. Taylor has been a leader in bringing both Project Adventure and Full Value based activities to our staff and her classes. She continues to have a positive impact on her students and makes her classes at both Walnut and Livingston Avenue schools fun, safe and ideal for learning."
"Mrs. Taylor brings an energy to the whole school, not just her preschool through grade two classes at Walnut Avenue School. Her energy permeates the building," added Celine McNally, Principal of Walnut Avenue School. "Mrs. Taylor's enthusiasm uplifts the staff and students, from her greeting of staff and students in the morning, to her highly engaging lessons in the gym, brings joy to everyone. Mrs. Taylor has been innovative with her lessons this school year as she adheres to the CDC and Department of Health guidelines. She keeps all students safe, while engaging them in activities that are fun and differentiated for the varying needs of the students. Mrs. Taylor is an asset to Walnut Avenue School and the Cranford Community. I am fortunate to have her a part of my staff."
“Mrs. Whitney Taylor puts 110% into her teaching," said Cari Lopez, Principal of Livingston Avenue School. "The students have so much fun in her class while learning healthy lifetime habits. We are so fortunate to have her at LAS!”
This marks two consecutive years a Cranford Public Schools physical education teacher has been named an NJAHPERD Teacher of the Year. Last year, Orange Avenue School's Suzette de Araujo received the Middle School Physical Education Teacher of the Year award.
NJAHPERD's Mission Statement says it is dedicated to advancing quality health education, physical education, recreation, dance education, and athletics through professional development, programming, advocacy, and collegial exchange. The Association promotes responsibility and development of healthy active lifestyles for New Jersey’s students, educators and community members.