Originally published Nov. 13, 2020 by the Herald-Whig.
By Deborah Gertz Husar
Quincy Public Schools Superintendent Roy Webb sees joining in with students in a physical education activity as a “fun part” of the job.
But Iles Elementary PE teacher Nik Broekemeier said it also shows Webb’s award-winning commitment to the importance of physical education for students — and the benefits it can provide to staff.
The Illinois Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance named Webb one of its two Administrator of the Year honorees.
QPS teachers and administrators nominated Webb for the annual award recognizing those who have given distinguished service to the profession and who have advocated for quality physical education, health and dance programs at the state and/or local level.
“The reason we wanted that to happen for him, especially with the new schools being built, was we felt like he definitely listened to our concerns as PE teachers,” Broekemeier said. “Sometimes PE teachers don’t get recognized as classroom teachers, but he’s always around, always in our gym, always willing to pitch in, come in and work out with the kids.”
QPS physical education and health teachers recognized Webb Friday afternoon with a short award ceremony.
“It’s a special award because it came from the teachers,” Webb said.
The teachers praised Webb for the support he offered their curriculum.
Webb’s leadership “allows for students in Quincy to have physical education five days a week. He sees the value in what is taught, and staff feel supported,” longtime QPS physical education teacher Penny Garner said in a news release about the award.
Webb, in turn, praised the work done by the teachers.
“As an administrator, you want your teachers to be passionate. You want them to ask for more and more. You want them to look out for kids. You definitely do that,” Webb said. “Our PE teachers do an outstanding job preparing kids not just for now but for their entire future.”
Webb’s commitment draws on his military background.
“You have to be strong mentally, you have to be strong physically and you have to be strong spiritually as well to do well in a military environment,” he said. “You learn that if you’re going to truly lead in a stressful, difficult environment, you have to be pretty physically fit, too.”
With that in mind, Webb launched a Fit to Teach program in QPS, promoting a healthy lifestyle. Staff members earn points toward completing steps in the program with recognition at each milestone.
“Especially this year with COVID going on, and the importance of wellness for our staff, we wanted to make sure he was recognized,” Broekemeier said.
IAHPERD offers professional development and networking opportunities for teachers of health, physical education, recreation and dance across the state while also recognizing administrators and teachers each year.
Webb “recognizes the important role physical fitness plays in a healthy lifestyle and the impact it has on teacher readiness,” IAHPERD said in a news release.