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Gwaltney Represents Bentley Primary School In National Competition

Posted 4/13/2017

MARLYS Gwaltney, left, was one of five runners-up for the Elementary P.E. Teacher of the Year, awarded March 17 in Boston. Karen Peterman, center, received the distinction. Also shown is USD 440 Superintendent Tom Alstrom. MARLYS Gwaltney, left, was one of five runners-up for the Elementary P.E. Teacher of the Year, awarded March 17 in Boston. Karen Peterman, center, received the distinction. Also shown is USD 440 Superintendent Tom Alstrom. By Jared Janzen

BENTLEY—Bentley Primary School’s Marlys Gwaltney is one of the best elementary P.E. teachers in the United States, and that’s a fact. In mid-March, Gwaltney attended the national Shape American convention in Boston as one of six finalists in the teacher of the year program, and while she didn’t come away with the national title, she said the whole experience was “simply incredible.”

“I think the Teacher of the Year process has made me very aware that I am now someone that other teachers may look to for advice or as an example,” Gwaltney said. “That’s a scary place for me because I don’t see myself as a big role model, except maybe for my students. For me, I just do what I do and I never really thought I would every reach this level of recognition in my career.”

Gwaltney has taught at Bentley Primary School for 20 years, and during that time she has implemented many health and nutrition programs at the school, including the Jump Rope for Heart program, Gwaltney’s Grocery Store and the second-chance breakfast program.

Gwaltney said that P.E. teachers must be vigilant to teach skills necessary for a lifetime of health and movement, as well as social skills to help their students interact well with others.

“I do think that I am a better teacher from this experience as I seem to have more focus on developing a successful program that reaches every student,” Gwaltney said. “When my students, colleagues, administrators and guests walk into my classroom, they should see the best practices demonstrated and used throughout the lesson.”

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