Every teacher and coach at each school site in the Turlock Unified School District will often impact thousands of students in their individual careers. It's hard to say exactly how many students were positively impacted in the 37 year-career of Turlock Junior High School's Ardie Feucht, who was recently named Educator of the Year by the California League of Middle Schools.
Feucht recently was named Educator of the Year for the California League of Middle Schools in Region 6, one of 11 regions in the state, after former teacher and friend Sally Price nominated her for the title. Feucht was one of six nominees in the region who attended a dinner in Manteca where each of the nominees gave a speech on their background and passion for teaching — but only one left with the regional title.
“I was completely shocked that I was chosen after hearing the other educators’ speeches. I was thinking wow, these are amazing people,” said Feucht, who will represent Region 6 at a statewide conference in February where one winner will be chosen from the 11 regions.
During her 37 years at TJHS as a physical education instructor, Feucht has coached volleyball for 35 years and track and field for 36. During that time, her motto to students has been: “Try your personal best, that’s all we can ask of you,” which she says applies to P.E., athletics and life. This motto can be seen in her own father who still volunteer coaches at 88 years of age allowing Feucht to joke that her physical education background is genetic.
“I am a fourth generation teacher and third generation physical educator and coach. I was also one of four girls and my dad would drag us to the gym with him as a kid and I just loved it,” said Feucht.
Feucht's long term efforts in physical education reach deeper than personal experience as she aims to expose students at an instrumental age to the importance of physical education.
“At this age you want physical education to be something positive for the kids so that they will want to be active in their life after junior high,” said Feucht, who remarked that middle school is typically the first time students are introduced to formal physical activity.
Her goal of introducing students to the benefits of physical activity, whether as a P.E. student or an athlete, has proved successful. She has seen former students start as beginners in junior high and continue on to compete in high school and even college level sports remarking that this growth is one of the most rewarding aspects of her job.