March 16, 2015

Manchin Praises Beckley Teacher on Nationally-Recognized Outstanding Performance

Washington, D.C. –  U.S. Senator Joe Manchin today congratulated Daniels resident and Woodrow Wilson High School teacher Karen Bonnett for being honored as the Midwest District High School Physical Education Teacher of the Year by SHAPE America – Society of Health and Physical Educators – at its 130th National Convention & Expo this week in Seattle.  She will vie with four other district winners for the distinguished honor of National High School Physical Education Teacher of the Year, which will be announced on Friday, March 20.

The award is given every year to recognize outstanding teaching performance at the high school level and the ability to motivate students to participate in a lifetime of physical activity. The Midwest District represents six states from West Virginia to Wisconsin.

“On behalf of the entire Mountain State, I’d like to congratulate Karen Bonnett for being recognized nationally for her extraordinary commitment to West Virginia’s youth,” Senator Manchin said. “Throughout her 30 years in physical education,  Karen has made a difference in the lives of our students by empowering them to live healthy lives and participate in a variety of activities. I’m so proud of her and thank her for representing West Virginia in such a positive way.”

As a wellness coach, Bonnett promotes activity among all students, teachers and staff at Woodrow Wilson High School. She has organized yoga, Zumba and dance classes, as well as a successful community health fair and a 5K run. Bonnett starts off every school year with a unit on Ultimate Frisbee in order to teach students the “Spirit of the Game,” a term that refers to good sportsmanship, making your own calls and no cheating. She also uses several strategies to adapt her lessons to the needs of individual students. For example, in golf, tennis and basketball, she has practice balls of various types and sizes, and she encourages the students to try several to see what works best for them.

Bonnett was named West Virginia Elementary Teacher of the Year in 2008 and the High School Teacher of the Year in 2013. She is a delegate to the national assembly of SHAPE America and past president of the West Virginia Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance. She received her B.S. degree in education with a concentration in physical education and self-contained studies from Concord University and her master's degree in communication studies from West Virginia University. She is a National Board Certified Teacher in Physical Education.