Two Young Alumnae Receive Physical Education Teaching Awards

Gustavus grads were named the Middle School Physical Education Teacher of the Year and Aquatics Teacher of the Year this fall.
Posted on January 26th, 2017 by

Two Gustavus Adolphus College alumnae who studied in the College’s Departments of Health and Exercise Science and Education recently won teaching awards recognizing their impact in the classroom. Samantha (Broderius) Nelson ’11 received the Minnesota Middle School Physical Education Teacher of the Year award and Amy Knutson ’09 was named the Minnesota Aquatic Teacher of the Year.

Professor Karl Larson and Samantha (Broderius) Nelson ’11.

The awards were presented in November at the Minnesota Society of Health and Physical Educators (MN SHAPE) Conference. Gustavus professors Karl Larson and Bonnie Reimann joined the ceremony to recognize their former students.

“From the time I began my education at Gustavus, I knew I wanted to teach physical education and health differently,” Nelson said. “I wanted to give youth learning experiences that would bolster individual, authentic movement and healthy habits for a lifespan.”

“I believe in teaching transferable skills that will help each student in all aspects of their life,” Knutson added. She uses her water safety and aquatics classes to build rapport and care for each student as an individual in and outside of school, she said. “I want students to feel safe and be able to speak up for themselves.”

Knutson was recognized for her outstanding services and contributions in the field of aquatics. Nelson was one of six Teacher-of-the-Year Award winners, receiving recognition as an educator who demonstrates exemplary teaching abilities at her respective grade level and discipline.

“These individuals have dedicated their lives to promoting wellbeing in children and youth in a noble service profession,” Gustavus Health and Exercise Science professor and department chair Aaron Banks said. “They are clear leaders in their fields and are truly living out the mission of the institution.”

Nelson and Knutson agree that their experiences at Gustavus helped prepare them for early professional success.

Professor Bonnie Reimann and Amy Knutson ’09.

“As a first-year student at Gustavus, I was invited to present and attend my first professional conference with an upperclassman,” Nelson recalled. “To this day, I still present and attend at least one conference a year and participate in local and national lobbying and advocacy efforts with my colleagues and professors.”

“The memory that stands out the most was when I was student teaching and taught my first swimming physical education lesson. The class had 11 different languages spoken and close to 35 students of varying abilities,” Knutson added. “My cooperating teacher was fantastic and I knew I had a lot of support back on campus as well. This experience taught me that there was a need for water safety and showed me that I have the skills and passion to reach and impact students and families.”

Nelson encourages future Gustie educators to consider physical education teaching. “There is no place like the physical education or health education classroom to instill in all people the skills, passion, and value of healthy habits,” she said. “The benefits of these habits are huge; the cost of these habits are small.”

Visit the Department of Health and Exercise Science or Department of Education websites to learn more about physical education and health teaching at Gustavus.


Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication JJ Akin


One Comment

  1. Wendy Bachman says:

    Congrats Sam and Amy!!