The Bradley County School System gets it.
And so does its leader, Johnny McDaniel, the community-respected director of schools.
As reported recently by our newspaper in a front-page article, McDaniel has been named recipient of the Tennessee Office of Coordinated School Health Leadership Award for 2012. School system directors are nominated for this prestigious honor and they are chosen by their peers from across the state. Bradley County CSH director Andrea Lockerby nominated McDaniel for the award.
Her decision to do so came with good reason.
Through the years, and especially the past few, the county school system has become a leader statewide in its commitment to address the “whole” education of its students. This commitment stretches far beyond reaching the student’s mind, but developing physical health as well. The evidence can be found just by looking around.
In recent years, particularly the last two, more and more county schools have applied for fitness and health grants in order to build paved tracks and trails in safe areas that are used not only by the students, but the area communities as well. New playgrounds are also springing up. One recent elementary school’s walkway addition was the Fox TROT Greenway at Black Fox Elementary School and within a matter of days Walker Valley High School became the community’s first secondary institution to open a walking and fitness trail. Not only are these stand-alone facilities, but they are also designated as parts of the Cleveland/Bradley County Greenway Network.
County schools also have been adding climbing walls, stationary bicycles and interactive exercise boards.
All are part of the Coordinated School Health program directed so very capably by Lockerby, whose systemwide accomplishments have captured the attention of peers from across the state of Tennessee and of those in other states. In recent months, the county school system has hosted national health leaders who wish to see for themselves how a community in Southeast Tennessee is addressing its students’ health needs.
Much of the credit goes to Lockerby’s vision for addressing education from a total perspective, but her objectives are succeeding because of McDaniel’s support and that by the Bradley County Board of Education.
“I’m a real strong believer in what Coordinated School Health does for children,” McDaniel told our newspaper. For years, McDaniel has supported his school system’s efforts to develop the “whole child.” He is a strong believer in the important link between physical activity and brain function.
Such a belief in the “... unwavering advocacy of connecting health and academics,” according to a CSH media statement, has led the Bradley County Schools system to receive more than $1.6 million in grants and in-kind contributions for the components of Coordinated School Health.
It is an excellent fit because it matches McDaniel’s mindset. CSH includes a myriad of targets such as nutrition, physical education, health services, counseling/psychological and social services, health school environment, staff wellness, family/community improvement and health education.
McDaniel understands the importance of what the county system is doing. He says it best when he describes the county’s CSH initiatives as being “cutting edge.”
The school leader is quick to recognize the roles of those in the trenches who are getting it done. Two he named specifically are Lockerby in CSH and school nutritionist Emily Brown.
McDaniel doesn’t see the CSH Leadership Award as being an individual achievement. He recognizes it as true team effort made possible by a dedicated staff.
He is correct.
Valuing the work of others is the mark of excellent leadership.
We congratulate all who had a hand in this impressive state recognition.