Why sit still when you can walk or run. It’s a theme that Kathy Dean has followed throughout her career, and one she is routinely instilling in the lives of her students at Summit School of Ahwatukee, home for a growing number of Tempe and west Chandler students.
Dean, the school’s physical education teacher, has received recognition for her achievement in helping improve school wellness by serving as a “Fuel Up and Play 60” program adviser, a program of the National Dairy Council and the National Football League in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Dean is the organizer and chief advocate for Summit’s before-school running club. In the 2010-11 school year, 90 students ran or walked more than 1,500 miles, with 10 of them running the equivalent of a full marathon. These healthy kids put Summit on the list of AAHPERD’s top 35 schools in the Let’s Move in School program, developed by First Lady Michelle Obama.
Dean, who is the school’s physical education and wellness specialist for children K through 8, attended Indiana University and Indiana State University, earning a BA degree in health, physical education, recreation and dance and music education. She has a Master’s degree from Indiana State in Exercise Physiology. Dean’s first teaching job was in a small, rural town in northern Indiana where she taught Kindergarten through 12th grade swimming and lifesaving. She later taught at Indiana University and Purdue University while her own kids were growing up, and worked as a wellness consultant for the Indiana Department of Education. She has also worked in as a wellness director for the Wayne Township School Corporation in Indiana and Medtronic Corp. in Tempe.
In 1997 Dean and her family moved to Phoenix, where she taught physical education and music in the Kyrene Schools. She started St. John Bosco School in 2001 and was instrumental in developing the athletic program and the athletic facilities. She has coached just about every sport and volunteered as well as taught fitness classes for the YMCA’s since she was 16.
Dean is current past president of the Arizona Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance and serves on several committees, including Action for Healthy Kids and the Alliance for a healthier Generation. This is her sixth year teaching at Summit School of Ahwatukee.