Cedarburg teacher named National P.E. Teacher of Year

CEDARBURG (WITI) -- As the school years comes to a close, a Cedarburg teacher is celebrating a new national title.  Patty Kestell from Thorson Elementary School has been named National Elementary School Physical Education Teacher of the Year.

It was awarded in April by a the National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE).

“I don't know if what I do is that much different than others,” said Kestell.

Kestell has a teaching style that is fast paced, but also accommodating to each student's physical ability.

“I really make a focus of getting all kids involved, differentiating my lesson so that everybody can participate at whatever level makes them successful,” she said.

Kestell has been an educator in Cedarburg for 23 years, creating individual lesson plans for each of her kids.

“She has us do fitness grams and has us see our goals,” said 5th grader Josh Filtz.

“Then we can see what we have done and see how we can get better,” said 5th grader Maddie Barber.

The national recognition came as a surprise to Kestell, but her colleagues disagree.

“Just being nominated, just being recognized is an honor in and of itself, but getting the award, it makes me very proud,” said Thorson Elementary School principal Kandy Gibson.

Even ask Kestell's students, it's one that's well deserved.

“She helped me improve by giving me certain ways to build my muscle endurance.  I was not surprised since she was such a good teacher,” said Filtz.

“It was just the most amazing thing.  A lot of years of hard work, a lot of great families, great kids working,” said Kestell.

She says despite the awards, her biggest accomplishment is watching her students grow, encouraging healthy lifestyles at gym class and beyond.

“It’s been very cool to see the kids that have been able to make some progress,” said Kestell.

Kestell is also the school district's wellness coordinator.  She's helped develop a number of healthy policies, including healthy meals and snacks, elimination of soda machines and recess before lunch.