CWU News

Alumna named National High School Teacher of the Year by SHAPE America

CWU alumna Sara Russell was named National High School Teacher of the Year by SHAPE America (the Society of Health and Physical Educators) at its recent national convention in Minneapolis.

Russell teaches physical education at Tahoma Junior High School in Maple Valley. She earned her master’s degree in health and physical education in 2009.

“Students knowing the why behind what we do is extremely important. I want students to leave class not only being able to say, 'This is what we did in class,' but also, 'This is what we learned in class,’” Russell said.

SHAPE America’s national Teacher of the Year award winners represent the best of the best in adapted physical education, dance education, health education, and physical education.

Another CWU alumna, Terri Drain, was elected to the 11-member SHAPE America Board of Directors. Drain is an elementary physical educator in the San Francisco Bay area. She earned her master’s in health and physical education at CWU in 2006.

Kirk Mathias, professor of physical education at CWU, was also nationally recognized with a SHAPE America Presidential Citation for his breadth of activities in the realm of improving physical activity in our youth.

“CWU is doing great things to improve the physical activity status of young people. SHAPE America’s recent recognition of our alumni and faculty are well deserved. Congratulations to all,” said Ethan Bergman, associate dean of the College of Education and Professional Studies and chair of the Department of Nutrition Exercise and Health Sciences.

Stephen Jefferies, emeritus faculty in physical education, is past president of SHAPE America.

“Dr. Jefferies has focused his career on improving physical activity in people of all ages, especially youth,” Bergman said. “In his role as president of SHAPE America, Dr. Jefferies expanded his scope of influence. Also in that role, he recognized those who are making a difference among our youth.”

The annual SHAPE America national convention attracts approximately 4,000 members representing physical education, health education, coaching, dance, sport management, exercise science, kinesiology and allied fields.

Media contact: Barb Arnott, CWU Public Affairs, 509-963-2841,

April 25, 2016