Stacey Sewell vividly remembers her physical education teacher.
Sewell said she thought the teacher had the greatest job.
"I watched her and thought that her job was more exciting than an academic teacher," Sewell said.
So it seemed only fitting that she would become a physical education teacher. Twelve years later, Sewell has made her mark in physical education. Later this month, she will receive the Simon McNeely Award from the Maryland Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance.
The award is given to an outstanding and innovative health, physical education, recreation or dance teacher with at least five years' experience teaching.
Sewell began her teaching career at Church Creek Elementary School fresh out of Salisbury University, where she earned a bachelor's degree in physical education in 1996.
"Being a physical education teacher is a fun job," said Sewell, who earned her master's in exercise science from McDaniel College in 2001. "I get to see all the students in the building, in a casual atmosphere."
Her goal in every class is to make the lesson meaningful and relate it to things the children know, she said.
"I want the kids to learn, get exercise, and have fun," she said.
In addition to her teaching duties, Sewell, who is married and has a daughter, Kendall, has worked as a teacher mentor at Towson University. She has also been a member of the county school system's physical education steering committee and assessment team, she said.
She also helped to create a physical education curriculum for the county's public schools, she said.
Children in kindergarten need to learn throwing, catching and striking skills, she said. The teachers vary on how they teach each grade level's skills, but upon completing a grade, all the children in the class will have been exposed to all of the skills for that grade level, Sewell said.
"The kids make me smile even on the worst of days," said Sewell, when asked why she continues to teach physical education. "I do what I do for the kids."