Bethlehem Central Middle School teacher Matt Bixby has been recognized as 2022 Capital Zone Health Teacher of the Year.
The award was presented to Bixby on April 6 by local representatives of the New York State Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (NYSAHPERD).
The award recognizes a teacher in a 12-county area of New York state who consistently delivers a high-quality Health Education program to students.
Bixby was chosen for being a role model among the region’s health educators for his understanding of the evolving nature of Health Education and his efforts to create innovative learning experiences that meet the needs of all students.
The award presentation took place as part of the Bethlehem Central Board of Education meeting. Sandra Morley, a former president of NYSAHPERD and a former principal at BCMS, was at the meeting to present the award to Mr. Bixby.
“If we’ve learned anything in the last two years, we must recognize how important all teachers are in helping our students navigate the new world we are living in,” said Sandra Morley, “Mr. Bixby affords students the opportunities to explore real-world problems through a standards-based, scientifically- and skill-based curriculum which is very student-centered.
“He provides a safe emotional place for his students at what can be a very confusing time in their lives, especially at the eighth-grade level,” said Morley. “He offers instruction that is pertinent to today’s world and today’s student. What’s most impressive is Mr. Bixby’s positive and easy connection with students.”
Bixby, who has taught Health Education in Bethlehem for 15 years, said he was surprised but happy to receive the award.
“I was excited just to find out that I was nominated for this award but when I found out I won the award I was surprised. I know many great health educators in this area and to be recognized among them is a tremendous honor,” said Bixby. “I’m proud of the work we do in Health Education here at Bethlehem and am excited to continue to grow and move our program forward.”
In addition to teaching Health at the middle school, Bixby has also taught Physical Education in the district and coached girls’ varsity basketball for nine years. He currently coaches modified track and field and is the coach of the BCHS girls’ golf team.
Bixby is the third Bethlehem Central Health Education teacher who has been honored with a Teacher of the Year award from NYSAHPERD.
Bixby was nominated for the award by Jennifer Murphy-Fries, the district’s K-12 supervisor for Physical Education, Health, Family & Consumer Science.