Physical Education Educator Robyn Newton Named 2023 Vermont Teacher of the Year

Physical Education Educator Robyn Newton Named 2023 Vermont Teacher of the Year Robyn Newton, a physical education teacher at Vergennes Union Elementary School, has been awarded the distinguished title of the 2023 Vermont Teacher of the Year by the Vermont Agency of Education. Newton’s passion for teaching new skills, creating unique opportunities for physical activity and play and emphasizing the importance of movement and health stood out among the other finalists for the prestigious award.

“I value all of you who helped me be better, and I hope I help you be better all at the same time. So, I think we are a great school community,” Newton humbly expressed during the presentation ceremony.

The three other finalists for the Vermont Teacher of the Year award were Abbie Bowker, a visual art teacher at Champlain Valley Union High School, Amy Clapp, an upper elementary teacher at Salisbury Community School, and Aziza Malik, an upper elementary teacher at Champlain Elementary School. While all finalists demonstrated exceptional teaching skills and dedication to their students, it was Newton’s message and approach that resonated deeply with the selection committee.

Robyn Newton’s teaching philosophy centers around incorporating more movement and exercise into schools, ensuring that children are active and engaged, and fostering a love for physical activity to enhance their education. She believes that physical education should motivate children, build their confidence, and nurture friendships and social engagement.

“Trying to incorporate more movement and exercise into our schools. Getting our kids more active and not sitting still. Getting them to love movement and make it so they can better their education,” Newton explained.

Secretary of Education Dan French commended Newton, stating, “Robyn Newton exemplifies what makes Vermont educators special.” He highlighted Newton’s efforts to use the Olympics as a teaching tool for sportsmanship, competition, world affairs, and intercultural competency. Additionally, French acknowledged Newton’s leadership in securing funding for physical education and nutrition programs in her district, showcasing her interdisciplinary and collaborative mindset.

As the physical education teacher at Vergennes Union Elementary School, Newton not only leads physical education instruction but also takes on the responsibility of curriculum planning and management. She played a pivotal role in securing a $1 million Carol M. White Physical Education Program Grant, which has allowed her district to acquire new equipment, develop innovative programming and provide enhanced opportunities for physical education.

The 2023 Vermont Teacher of the Year’s impact extends beyond the school walls. She actively engages the community, serving as a member of the Vergennes Parks and Recreation Committee. Newton led a $300,000 project to renovate the local ice rink and basketball facility, reinforcing her commitment to building a better community for her students and their families to be active and play.

Robyn Newton’s exceptional teaching career is built upon a solid academic foundation. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in physical education from the University of Vermont, where she received recognition as the Outstanding Student in Physical Education and excelled as a softball player, earning the Player of the Year award. She furthered her education, obtaining a Master’s degree in Education and a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study from Southern New Hampshire University.

Robyn Newton’s recognition as the 2023 Vermont Teacher of the Year is a testament to her exemplary teaching, her dedication to physical education and her commitment to fostering an active and engaging learning environment for her students. Her passion for teaching, collaborative mindset, and tireless efforts to promote physical activity make her a true inspiration to educators and students alike.

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