Educators of Excellence: Coaching Duo Raise the Bar

If you could find two coaches who eat, breathe, and sleep the Athlos Healthy Body pillar, it would be Austin and Christina Ledesma. Both athletic performance coaches at International Leadership Texas (ILT) campus in Keller, this married duo embodies all that Athlos represents. Whether it’s during school hours, after school, or in their personal lives, the two constantly strive to improve the lives of others.

“Austin and I are passionate about seeing this program thrive because of how much we believe in it,” Christina said. “We aspire to be standard bearers for the Athlos program.”

Christina was the first of the two to join ILT and start implementing the Athlos program. When she came across the job listing for an athletic performance coach, she knew the vision behind the school perfectly aligned with her own teaching style and philosophy.

Austin, now in his second year with ILT, was inspired by the non-tradition approach to health and wellness education that the curriculum provides students and impressed by the gains he saw Christina’s students making with the innovative model.

“I’m a firm believer in character development and leadership, as our next generation needs stronger skill sets in life,” Austin said. “After looking at the Athlos program, I knew it was a great fit because there is a strong emphasis on developing future leaders.”

Christina and Austin both emphasize the importance of the healthy lifestyles to their students. Focusing on practical examples, they highlight how, without good health, it’s difficult to effectively accomplish day-to-day tasks.

“Our bodies are like cars—if we’re not putting the proper fuel in and keep up with proper maintenance routine, we’re not going to go very far,” Christine said.

Austin and Christine are passionate about instilling a culture in the school. They strive to be sure students form healthy habits throughout their lifetimes in ways that are efficient, fun, and easy to integrate into any lifestyle.

“It’s all about shifting their mindset to viewing regular exercise and healthy eating as something they get to do, not something they have to do,” Christina said.

The direct correlation between the body and the mind is important for these coaches to teach in the school setting. When the students are physically active on a daily basis, it helps them create life-long exercise habits.

“When students are more physically active, they tend to be alert, sharp, and perform better in the classroom,” Austin said.

Outside of school hours, Christina and Austin started a running club on campus to offer students in grades five through eight with an opportunity to improve and fine tune their running mechanics, breathing techniques, speed, and stamina. Additionally, they sponsor the school’s Fellowship of Christian Athletes student-led group on campus.

Both coaches strive constantly to instill skills necessary for life-long success in their students.

“Kids have a lot of pressure these days. I want Athlos to be a time for them to let loose, have fun, work hard, and feel confident in who they are,” Christina said. “My goal is to inspire my students and set a standard and expectation for them to continue living a daily healthy lifestyle as they grow older.”

At the end of the day, both coaches are passionate about the Athlos approach to education, and can see how the development of performance character traits, healthy bodies, and prepared minds lays a truly beneficial foundation for students.

“I believe our kids are really creative because of the innovative Athlos curriculum,” Christina said. “When students come up to me and tell me stories of how they showed grit or initiative at home, that brings me great pride. You cannot put a price on character.”

Austin and Christina gauge their success as educators in knowing they have made a positive impact in the lives of their students and seeing the children change and become better prepared for life-long success.

“It’s very rewarding to watch the students grow and develop in all domains — body, mind, and spirit,” Austin said. “This particular program is truly making a difference in student’s lives.”

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