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Meet Maryland’s Elementary and Middle School Phys Ed Teachers of the Year

Mr. Alonso and Mr. Moo are dedicated to student wholeness

City Schools is home to BOTH Maryland’s 2021 Elementary School Physical Education Teacher of the Year and Middle School Physical Education Teacher of the Year! 

Chris Alonso and Muhammad Benyameen were selected for awards by their colleagues in SHAPE (Society of Health and Physical Educators) Maryland! 

Not only do the SHAPE awards showcase deserving teachers, but they spotlight the essential role physical education teachers play in social emotional learning. 

By setting students up to succeed with life-long skills in fitness, nutrition, social interaction, and stress management, they’re ensuring City Schools fulfills its commitment to student wholeness outlined in the district’s Blueprint for Success. 

Chris Alonso — Elementary School Physical Education Teacher of the Year

Since arriving at Armistead Gardens Elementary/Middle School 14 years ago, Mr. Alonso has increased the number of school athletic teams from seven to fourteen. His Morning Mile Club has bolstered the physical and mental health of 50 students who regularly run, jog, or even just a brisk walk before the school day. 

Mr. Alonso is renowned at Armistead Gardens ES/MS for building partnerships on behalf of his students, connecting them with field trips, Outward Bound programs, Orioles experiences, and more. In addition to his fundraising on behalf of the Special Olympics during the Polar Bear Plunge, he led the successful effort for Armistead Gardens to become a Special Olympics Unified Champion School, where students with disabilities feel welcome and are included in, and feel a part of, all activities, opportunities, and functions. 

In addition to his service to his school, he also serves on the district's Phys Ed Advisory Committee, leads workshops, hosts student interns, and serves as a Student Learning Objectives Ambassador.

Muhammad Benyameen — Middle School Physical Education Teacher of the Year

In addition to his role as physical education teacher, “Mr. Moo” (as he’s known to his students) serves as the Hampden Elementary/Middle School safety coordinator and has previously been the Green Team and wellness coordinator. During distance learning, Mr. Moo provided his students with weekly videos focusing on gratitude, family, community, and mindfulness as well as physical fitness programming.

Thanks to Mr. Moo, Hampden ES/MS hosts a Girls on the Run Club (part of a national program teaching social emotional learning through running) and recently received a grant from All Kids Bike to launch the program (with free strider bikes, helmets, and pedal conversion kits). When he’s not securing funds and opportunities for his students, Mr. Moo takes the lead in arranging charity drives, including Hampden ES/MS students’ $7,000 fundraiser for the Kids Heart Challenge. 

And this award isn’t Mr. Moo’s only recent recognition.  He is also the winner of The Baltimore Ravens and M&T Bank’s 2021 Touchdown for Teachers Award. The award recognized his “leadership, dedication and commitment to education, and for outstanding service to his school, students and community.”  

Ravens center Bradley Bozeman, mascot Poe, and cheerleaders stopped by Hampden ES/MS in the fall to celebrate Mr. Moo’s successes. Watch the video! 

More Recognition for Physical Education Teachers

This year, five Baltimore City Schools physical education teachers also received SHAPE Maryland’s prestigious Simon A. McNeely Award in 2021. The award is presented to educators with at least five years of professional experience for “outstanding teaching and service in health and education”.

Matthew Allen, William Paca Elementary School
Erica Patterson, Baltimore School for the Arts, 
Shannon Furdak, REACH! Partnership School
Lashan McClary,  Armistead Gardens Elementary/Middle School
Margo Workman, Itinerant Adapted PE

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