Southdown’s Lynn Hefele Wins Teacher of the Year Honors

Southdown's Lynn Hefele with a first grade class at the school.

November 16, 2016

Lynn Hefele is getting the credit she deserves. SHAPE America has named the Southdown Primary School faculty member as one of six national elementary grade level Teacher of the Year Award recipients.

A longtime Huntington School District teacher, Mrs. Hefele was cited as SHAPE (Society of Health and Physical Educators) America’s Eastern district honoree. The five other award recipients come from Kansas, Wisconsin, Alaska, Georgia and Arizona.

“This award is a reflection of the Huntington schools, students, parents, administrators and teachers I have worked with over the years,” Mrs. Hefele said. “When you have a community that values and supports your mission as a teacher, you will go above and beyond for them. I also feel that the dedicated professionals that I have met at conferences and through Twitter have significantly improved my teaching over the last seven years. A day doesn’t go by that I don’t learn something incredible from a gifted teacher located in another part of the world.”

The Southdown School gym
is a learning laboratory.

A member of Huntington’s faculty since 1988, Mrs. Hefele is always looking to further sharpen her instructional skills and the physical education experience for the students she works with. She cares about her colleagues and the parents of her students, too. One of her most recent initiatives is a Facebook page she created. “The Physically Educated Family” informs parents about research and trends in physical activity and health.

“Lynn’s passion for teaching physical education is readily perceived by her students and colleagues,” Huntington Superintendent James W. Polansky said. “Her creativity has always been among her signatures. She is routinely looking for ways to excite children about developing proper health habits, thoroughly immerse them in physical activity and forge a multitude of interdisciplinary connections. Additionally, she always makes students feel good about themselves and helps build their self-confidence.”

Vice president of New York AHPERD’s Suffolk Zone for elementary/middle school, Mrs. Hefele earned undergraduate and graduate degrees at Springfield College in physical education and movement science with a concentration in biomechanics, respectively. Founder and president of Literature Enhanced Physical Education, Inc., she has written and published numerous books over the past seven years.

“I have wanted to be a physical education teacher since the first grade when Ms. Mixture let us climb the swing set bars,” Mrs. Hefele said. “While my initial motivation was a personal love of sport and competition, as a teacher, I strive to develop a community of children that have the skills, knowledge and confidence to lead a healthy, active life.”

The veteran Huntington teacher and athletic coach writes for and manages Elementary PE+ on Linkedin. Mrs. Hefele is a member of the US Games Presenters Network and also produces the Phys Ed Audio Blog.

“Huntington’s Physical Education Department is blessed with terrific teachers across the grade levels,” Mr. Polansky said. “Lynn has been right there among them, ready to share an idea or provide feedback in an effort to build further upon an outstanding district program. Her contributions to the profession in general are too numerous to list.  She is beyond deserving of this honor and recognition.”

Mrs. Hefele resides in Greenlawn with her husband, Steve. The couple has two sons, Harrison and TJ.

Along with her fellow award winners, Mrs. Hefele will be recognized at SHAPE America’s 2017 conference and expo in Boston in March.

“SHAPE America is committed to ensuring all children have the opportunity to lead healthy, physically active lives,” according to the organization’s website. “As the nation’s largest membership organization of health and physical education professionals, SHAPE America works with its 50 state affiliates and national partners to support initiatives such as the Presidential Youth Fitness Program, Let’s Move! Active Schools and the Jump Rope For Heart and Hoops For Heart programs. Since its founding in 1885, the organization has defined excellence in physical education, and our resources provide the leadership, professional development and advocacy that support health and physical educators at every level from preschool to university graduate programs.”