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Posted September 9, 2014

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Pepsi, Foundation Honor Teachers for 5th Year

Inez PE Teacher Michael Anderson is the Teacher of the Month for September.

Five years ago, Pepsi and the APS Education Foundation began recognizing just a few of the district’s outstanding teachers for their contributions to the classroom, school and community. They receive a small token of appreciation, but represent the many outstanding teachers in Albuquerque Public Schools.

The first teacher to receive the honor this school year is truly representative of the hard work that’s happening in our schools. PE teacher Michael Anderson has spent his entire 17-year career teaching PE at Inez Elementary, where his students are his passion.

"I get paid to teach kids to throw, kick, skip, and climb, but if I can help children become decent people than I've done my job, Anderson said.

“Respect” is written in large letters across a wall in the Inez gym, and every year Anderson has his students sign the wall as a contract to be respectful first to themselves, their classmates, and their teacher. 

“Integrity is an ongoing theme at Inez,” he said. “Rockets (the school mascot) live with integrity. I tell my students that graduating from high school is a minimum requirement.”

Anderson said his biggest challenge in education is trying to convince teachers, administrators, and the powers that be that wellness is the key to academic success.

“As goes the health and wellness of our kids so goes their grades and graduation rates,” he said. “Kids are naturally motoric, and research shows that sitting children for long periods of time is counterproductive to learning. We need to trust in the fact that not only does movement help increase physical health and wellness, it also improves mental alertness and capacity for learning.”

The Foundation randomly selects one APS school each month, and that school’s principal or staff chooses a teacher to be honored. The teacher receives a $100 check from Pepsi and acknowledgement on the APS website, Facebook page and electronic billboards.

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