By Jan Schultz
The Imperial Republican
It’s the top honor each year given by the Nebraska Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (NAHPERD).
Yet Jodie Schuller, K-6 physical education teacher and coach at Chase County Schools, credited others in receiving the award because of what they have instilled in her growth as a teacher.
Schuller, along with Elementary Principal Susie Stewart, attended NAHPERD’s awards luncheon Nov. 4 in Lincoln.
While it could have been a real downer of a day, after her Lady Longhorn volleyball team lost its subdistrict match the night before, the award certainly helped.
Getting back from the volleyball match at 1 a.m., Schuller didn’t even go to bed before her departure for Lincoln a couple hours later. She said she just stayed up and graded some papers.
“I’m still trying to soak it all in,” Schuller said this week.
“It’s pretty special, but I can’t take all of the credit for it,” she added.
Those others she credits include former fellow PE teacher Dennis Krutsinger of Imperial, her high school volleyball coach at Axtell Doug Hinze and former college professors.
Schuller said she learned a lot from all of them.
Arriving in Imperial for the 1995-96 school year, Schuller is approaching her 20th year at Chase County Schools.
Since then, she’s also had a number of coaching duties, too. In addition to her current job as head high school volleyball coach and coming off a school record 26-3 season, Schuller has also coached junior high girls’ basketball and track here.
Schuller said her philosophy of physical education is “Get kids moving and keep kids moving.”
Schuller said the world has changed with more technology contributing to less physical activity among youths.
She also believes kids don’t know how to go out and play by themselves anymore.
“Kids will sit for hours and hours playing games on their iPads or phones, and no movement occurs during that time,” she said.
Because of that, movement is an important thing she stresses in her classes.
“Even if it’s just walking with a pedometer, it’s getting kids to move,” she said.
Providing kids with the skills necessary to live a healthy, active life, to raise their self-esteem and create a positive outlook that reflects on their social and emotional well-being is her goal.
“Even if it’s an activity like table tennis, it’s still getting students up and standing on their feet,” she noted.
One of the special events Schuller incorporates into her PE classes is the annual Jump Rope for Heart and Hoops for Heart fundraisers.
Her students acquire pledges from family and friends, then jump rope or shoot baskets during classes in February (Heart Month) to raise money for the American Heart Association.
At last week’s luncheon, Schuller also accepted Chase County Elementary’s award