New Castle News

Local News

November 17, 2012

Gym dandies: Mohawk teacher, superintendent earn state honor for dedication to phys ed

NEW CASTLE — It’s an honor for any school district to receive recognition from the state.

For the Mohawk Area School District, the distinctions are twofold.

Lou Ann Miller, elementary physical education instructor, is the recipient of Teacher of the Year for Elementary Physical Education. Kathleen Kwolek, superintendent, is receiving the Layman Award for the state.

Both will be recognized later this month at the 91st annual Pennsylvania State Association of Health and Physical Education, Recreation and Dance convention in Seven Springs.

Miller said that her mother always thought she should pursue a teaching career, but after high school graduation, she took a different path, working for a power company. However, she realized that she wasn’t meeting her potential.

So at age 30, “I took a leap of faith.”

Miller returned to college, received her teaching certificate two years later and knew then that teaching was her calling.

“It just clicked,” she explained, adding jokingly, “I finally listened to my mother.”

Getting a later start in her career is more impactful and meaningful than if she had begun earlier, Miller believes.

 Enthusiasm is one of her greatest traits, and students know that high fives are a spirited trademark.

“I love my job. The kids keep me going. Sometimes all they need is to see a smiling face.”

The award was given for her outstanding knowledge and contributions to the profession.

The New Wilmington resident said it isn’t so much about the award but the fact that she is being recognized by a group of peers.

Among her accomplishments at Mohawk was an effort with teaching partner Larry Carr to write and receive more than $80,000 in grant money, which was used to create an interactive fitness center at the elementary level.

“I can’t imagine working with a better person,” Miller said. “And I can’t think of doing anything else.”

Technology advancements and upgraded programs in the physical education department help hold students’ interest, she pointed out.

Her goal, also, is to encourage students to eat correctly and exercise.

“I’m always hoping that we’re making a difference. We try to be role models.”

Kwolek, who said she is humbled by the award, is thrilled that Miller is getting recognition.

“There is not a more deserving person in the state than Lou Ann,” Kwolek said.

The superintendent is being recognized for her championing of the school’s physical education department.

“I’m a super supporter of health and wellness for students. With mandates and demands of the academic level at an all-time high and decreasing revenue from the state, non-tested areas including arts, music and physical education are hit the hardest.”

Physical education captures the interest of elementary students in particular, Kwolek continued, adding she goes into the classrooms on a regular basis.

“Working with teachers is the best part of the job.”

Learning is a never-ending process for Kwolek.

As for the award — “It’s very humbling and an affirmation that we’re going in the right direction with our physical education.”

(Email: lhudson@ncnewsonline.com.)

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • LOVEkitchen.jpg Love Kitchen: Little Caesars provides special delivery for Rescue Mission

    The Little Caesars Love Kitchen rolled into the City Rescue Mission for a special delivery Wednesday. A pizza kitchen on wheels, the big rig travels across the United States and Canada to meet the needs of the hungry, the homeless and disaster survivors.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • fairphoto.jpg County fair looks for a few good bakers

    The countdown to the 2014 Lawrence County Fair has begun. In less than two weeks, the fairgrounds will be brimming with animals, vegetables, fruit, flowers, music, food and fun. This year’s fair runs from Aug. 11 to 16.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • CarolineOrrico.jpg Local teen off to state DYW event

    Lawrence County’s 2015 Distinguished Young Woman is heading back into scholarship competition.

     

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • NicholsonOffice.jpg County to buy new office for Nicholson

    Before the end of the year, the Lawrence County commissioners plan to move District Judge Jennifer Nicholson into new offices.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • PortersvilleSS.jpg Portersville Steam Show summer event arrives

    The Portersville Steam Show will stage its summer event Thursday through Sunday at its show grounds.

     

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Veteran.jpg Veterans seminar to view technology

    A veterans benefits seminar has been set for Friday. The program will run from 2 to 4 p.m. in the commissioners room of the Lawrence County courthouse.

     
     

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Part-time guard position created

    The Lawrence County Salary Board created a part-time temporary court guard position Tuesday.

     

    July 30, 2014

  • JaredGustafson.jpg Mohawk senior Jared Gustafson elected nation FCCLA officer

    A Mohawk High student was elected to national office at a leadership conference in Texas. Senior Jared Gustafson now is the 2014-2015 national vice president of parliamentary law for the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America.

     

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • PipeDreams.jpg Concert to feature sounds of ’60s

    This week’s Friday Night Live at Riverwalk Amphitheater will feature a 1960s theme. Entertainment will be provided by Pipe Dreams. The group performs a tribute to the British Invasion and American rock ’n roll with music from The Beatles, Stones, Doors, Monkees and hits from Motown and Philly.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • well.jpg Environmental groups oppose forced pooling

    An effort by local landowners to have forced pooling declared unconstitutional is getting some outside support. Two environmental groups — Delaware Riverkeeper Network and Mountain Watershed Association — have filed a friend of the court brief with Commonwealth Court. They are asking that the court review forced pooling, which is part of a 1961 Oil and Gas Conservation Law, before scheduled hearings take place.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo