Sunset PE teacher named Colorado’s SHAPE Educator of the Year
Being away from his students throughout the COVID-19 pandemic has been very hard on Sunset Elementary Physical Education teacher Johnny Ford.
An announcement in late June from SHAPE Colorado helped cheer him up thought.
Ford, who recently completed his fifth year as PE teacher at Sunset, was named the SHAPE (Society of Health and Physical Education) Colorado Young Educator Physical Education Teacher of the Year for 2020 on June 19.
The award recognizes Ford for the contributions he has made in the fields of health, physical education and dance.
“It was definitely a shock to win,” Ford said from his home in Craig. “I’m definitely still humbled by it and it really hasn’t hit me yet.”
Ford says he knew that Sunset Elementary Principal Jill Hafey had nominated him for the SHAPE award near the start of the 2019-20 school year. Aside from submitting some photos, letters of recognition and an essay about himself, Ford mostly put the thought of the award on the back burners.
That all changed in late June as Ford was recognized by the state-wide organization. The announcement of the award went public within the Sunset community as an outpouring of support came in for Ford, who was born in Craig and lived here until the age of 12 before moving back after college.
“Within the community, the outpouring from families, teachers…it’s all just been incredible,”Ford said. “I’ve heard from other teachers within the valley and that’s been pretty humbling. There’s just been a ton of support through the community, but I wouldn’t be able to do this with the kids.
“Getting to work with a great group of kids every single day, impacting their lives social emotional or getting them in shape, feeling better about themselves…that’s what means the most. That’s the best part of my job.”
As the recipient of the SHAPE Award for 2020, Ford should be heading to the SHAPE convention in early October in Denver to officially accept the award. However, due to the pandemic, the convention is up in the air.
In the meantime, Ford awaits the day he can return to Sunset and see the familiar faces he’s used to.
“It was heartbreaking to have the school year cut short the way it was,” Ford said. “I truly miss each and every one of them knowing that they’re healthy, safe and at school. I can’t wait to get back to school and see all their smiling faces.”
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