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Whitworth alumna, award-winning teacher to give Sept. 25 lecture on education excellence

September 20, 2012

Whitworth alumna Jessica Shawley, ’03, will present a lecture, “Going Above and Beyond with Excellence: Answering the Call to Educate” on Sept. 25 at Whitworth University. Shawley was named the 2012 National Teacher of the Year for Middle School Physical Education by the National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE). The lecture will take place at Whitworth's Robinson Teaching Theatre in Weyerhaeuser Hall at 7 p.m. Admission is free. For more information, please call (509) 777-3229.

Betty Williams, a professor of education at Whitworth, says it is an exceptional honor for Shawley to be recognized nationally for her impact on students and teachers.

“I am especially pleased to have Jessica returning to Whitworth to share her successful strategies for integrating movement and fitness throughout the school community, particularly at a time when Americans are becoming seriously concerned about issues of childhood health and fitness,” says Williams. “At the same time, teachers are under great pressure to raise academic standards, sometimes at the expense of recess or study breaks for students.”

She continues, “Jessica is focused on helping teachers meet new academic common core standards while also giving students the opportunities to move and to respond actively. Her presentation promises to provide valuable insight for teaching in ways that insure not only intellectual growth, but physical fitness, as well.”  

Shawley, who majored in health, fitness and physical education at Whitworth, has taught P.E. at Moscow Middle School in Moscow, Idaho, for nine years. During that time she has earned more than $14,500 in grant funding to support the educational efforts of the P.E. department, for which she also serves as chair. She is a leader on the Staff Wellness and District Coordinated School Health Council, and she is the current board president of the Idaho Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance. Shawley has a collaborative mentoring partnership with the University of Idaho’s Physical Education Teacher Education (PETE) program and is a mentor-teacher for students in the PETE middle school lab practicum. She also mentors undergraduate student-teachers, and she has mentored National Boards for Professional Teaching Standards candidates.

In addition to earning her undergraduate degree at Whitworth, Shawley earned a master’s degree from the University of Idaho along with secondary-level physical education specialist certification through the National Boards for Professional Teaching Standards. In 2010, Shawley was selected as the Idaho-American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance Middle School Physical Education Teacher of the Year. In 2011 she was selected as the Northwest District Middle School Physical Education Teacher of the Year, allowing her application to move on to compete for the 2012 national award.

As part of her National Teacher of the Year Award activities, Shawley has begun speaking to fellow educators across the country and will share her favorite learning activities and curriculum ideas. Her 2012-13 speaking schedule includes engagements in Syracuse, N.Y.; Charlotte, N.C.; Harrisonburg, Va.; Reston, Va.; Roanoke; Va.; Naperville, Ill.; Galveston, Texas; Denver, Co.; Boise, Idaho; and Seattle, Wash.

The Whitworth Speakers & Artists Series presents a broad range of voices, perspectives and ideas that enrich the intellectual and spiritual life of the campus and the larger community. Since 1890, Whitworth has held fast to its founding mission to provide an education of mind and heart. Whitworth faculty and staff are confident that Christian worldviews and Christian thinkers are sharpened by rigorous and open intellectual inquiry and by engagement with the broadest spectrum of ideas. This confidence motivates Whitworth to invite to campus speakers and artists who can help our community engage in critical and careful thinking, as well as in civil discourse and effective action to honor God, follow Christ and serve humanity.

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private liberal arts university affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA). The university, which has an enrollment of nearly 3,000 students, offers 60 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.


Sarah Seidel, academic program assistant, school of education, Whitworth University, (509) 777-3229 or

Andrea Idso, interim public information officer, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4703 or