Vaughn named nation's best

Ted Vaughn is a man of few words but now he has a white polo shirt that says volumes.

Vaughn, a physical education teacher at Olympic High School, showed up to school on Monday wearing a shirt that states he was just named the national teacher of the year by the National Association for Sport and Physical Education.

Vaughn was chosen as one of six regional winners and attended a national conference in Chicago last week.

As a part of the honor, Vaughn gets to travel to Washington, D.C., and talk to legislators about health issues confronting youth and will be the keynote speaker at several conferences in the next year.

“It’s very humbling,” Vaughn said of earning the honor.

Vaughn doesn’t think the title is a reflection on his teaching skills, rather he thinks of it as a reflection on the staff — both at Olympic and the district — he works with.

“I know as well as anybody else that this was more the people I work with than me,” Vaughn said. “I have outstanding people around me who make me look pretty good.”

The road to the title was two years in the making.

In 2003 Vaughn was chosen as the state’s PE teacher of the year after being nominated by a fellow teacher who is no longer working in the district. Then in 2004, he was named the regional winner.

From there, the process got more involved, Vaughn said. He had to answer four essay questions; get seven recommendations from teachers and administrators; and had to videotape himself teaching.

From there, a panel of judges considered all that information and an interview to determine the winner.

The announcement was made at the organization’s Hall of Fame dinner on April 15. When Vaughn’s name was announced and his face was plastered on a big screen, Vaughn was, to say the least, surprised.

“I would say shock would be the best word to describe it,” Vaughn said. “You’re there, sitting in a hall with probably the best and brightest people in your profession.”

Vaughn said he was humbled to be given two standing ovations from the 800 attendees at the dinner.

Attendees included U.S. Olympic Gold Medalists, former teachers of the year and respected authors in the physical education profession.

Vaughn, however, wasn’t too sure he belonged in the same room as the other notables. Even with the polo shirt that says he does, he’s still not sure.

“They must think I do,” Vaughn said.

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