Przystas named PE Teacher of the Year

Krystle Wagner • Oct 27, 2016 at 1:00 PM

As students threw footballs to partners, physical education teacher Scott Przystas offered advice for throwing good spirals.

A teacher at Mary A. White and Rosy Mound elementary schools, Przystas was named the 2016 SHAPE Michigan Elementary Physical Education Teacher of the Year. When Przystas received the recognition, he said two words came to mind — humbling and motivating.

The award was humbling because great mentors and teachers groomed him during his student teaching experience, and an “awesome staff” in Grand Haven schools surrounds him with veteran teachers showing him the way, Przystas said.

The recognition also motivates him to continue to be better and to hold himself accountable.

Throughout his career, Przystas said he’s been given opportunities to continue his learning. Przystas said many people throughout the community have supported his efforts such as by building a climbing wall or having a jazzercise group come visit his class.

Przystas is also the varsity girls cross country coach, freshman girls’ basketball coach, the middle school girls track team head coach, and the varsity assistant coach.

Przystas said his recognition is the result of many people.

“It was a great honor,” he said.

Przystas’ efforts have also been recognized by organizations throughout the community.

In 2013 and 2015, he received the Grand Haven Community Foundation’s Excellence in Education award. In 2014, he was named Grand Haven Area Public Schools’ Coach of the Year, and he was nominated in 2016 for the Young Professionals Top 20 under 40 Award through the local Chamber of Commerce.

In 2014, Przystas was named to the Governor’s Council on Fitness, Health and Sports, and he is a member of SHAPE Michigan’s Board of Directors and a longtime member of SHAPE American, Michigan Interscholastic Track Coaches Association, and Basketball Coaches Association of Michigan. He also serves on task forces for the Michigan High School Athletic Association.

Przystas is also a co-founder of My Team Triumph.

As students spend time in his class, Przystas said he hopes they take away an appreciation and understanding of living a healthy lifestyle. He noted that he hopes their efforts continue at home, and Ottawa County residents are blessed to have families who understand and community supports healthy efforts, and they have access to healthy foods.

Przystas practices what he teaches.

He’s completed three Iron Man Triathlons, participated in more than 40 triathlons and 30 marathons, and he has also participated in four 50K trail runs and two 24-hour adventure races.

Mary A. White Elementary School Principal Valerie Livingston said Przystas is an “innovative physical education teacher,” and he continually looks for opportunities to enrich the program.

Over the years, Przystas has brought the Fuel Up to Play 60 program to the school, and created leaders in the school’s fourth-graders “while guiding all of the students to a greater understanding of nutrition,” Livingston said.

“Scott has been instrumental in leading changes to the PE program in Grand Haven,” Livingston said. “His excitement about life-long fitness and nutrition is contagious in the school. Under Scott's direction we have students who look forward to smoothie bars at lunch and are excited to see our new tower garden grow.”

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