SDAHPERD honors TJ Knudson


By Katie Zerr –

Mobridge-Pollock Middle School health and physical education teacher T.J. Knudson has been named the South Dakota Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (SDAHPERD)Middle School Teacher of the Year.

Middle School Principal Joe Lenz said Knudson understands that great teachers have high expectations.

“I would say that he has high expectations for his students and even higher expectations for himself,” he said. “He doesn’t expect anyone else to do something that he wouldn’t first do himself, for this reason. He has a great rapport with his students and colleagues.”

Knudson said he is honored by the nomination and gives credit to his students.

“I am very happy to be recognized by educators in my field. It is quite an honor to have been nominated by Mr. Lenz and to have received the award at the state level,” he said. “We have a great group of middle school students who make it easy for me to be excited about teaching physical education every day.”

When Lenz nominated Knudson for the award, he said one of the most important qualities that he admired and appreciated of Knudson is how incredibly flexible he is and willing to do whatever is necessary for the good of the cause and the good of his students.

“What sets TJ apart from many other educators is he understands that the teacher in the classroom is the main variable,” said Lenz on the nomination.  “He comes to each and every class with a smile on his face and sets the tone with his enthusiasm.  Students want to come to his class not just because it’s PE but because he is a compassionate teacher and he knows the importance of building relationships with his students.”

Lenz said Knudson is the type of teacher that understands that students are constantly changing and as a result he believes that he must change with them to meet the needs of 21st Century learners.

“He understands that he cannot meet the needs of his students if his approach is the same as it was 10 years ago, five years ago, or even last year, said Lenz. “He is always looking for ways to better himself, his colleagues, and most importantly, the students he works with daily.”

Knudson will be honored at the SDAHPERD Awards Banquet will be held the evening of Nov. 7, during the SDAHPERD Convention in Brookings.


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