Educators Receive 2021 Athlos Distinguished Educator Awards

BOISE, ID- In June, three educators from Athlos schools throughout the United States were chosen as recipients of the Athlos Distinguished Educator Award. Each of the three were chosen based on their excellence in exemplifying the Athlos Pillars of Performance: Prepared Mind, Healthy Body, and Performance Character. The three educators are: James Bentz, Athlos Academy of Utah, Herriman, UT; Anthony Spano, Athlos Academy of Jefferson Parish, Terrytown, LA; and Eunice Gyamerah, Athlos Academy of St. Cloud, St. Cloud, MN.

From Left to Right: Darin Knicely, Superintendent, Athlos Academies, James Bentz, educator, Athlos Academy of Utah, Anthony Spano, educator, Athlos Academy of Jefferson Parish, Camille Wells, Director of Operations and Growth, Athlos Academies.

Bentz, who teaches junior high English language arts, is a sixteen-year veteran educator known for his passion for education and his involvement in journalism, yearbook, creative writing, chess team, book club and National and Junior National Honor Society. Recently Bentz began recording videos as part of a literacy series called “Tuck-In-Tuesday’s” which were designed to help educators stay connected with students during the pandemic.

“Mr. Bentz always goes the extra mile to display leadership, optimism, and energy in everything he does,” said Ameran Link, Athlos Social Media Specialist.

Bentz says his best quality as an educator is his desire to put students and their needs first and foremost in all his classes.  “Everything I do, from ongoing professional development to advocating for kids, is driven by a humble desire to see young people become smarter, better human beings,” he said.

Spano, who teaches fifth grade social studies, is a 32-year teaching veteran known for his extracurricular involvement and award-winning student clubs and athletic teams.  Most recently, the Triton Sharks, a robotics team, finished in the top ten among First Lego League Robotics competitions. As part of the robotics team, Athlos students apply Performance Character Traits such as grit, creativity, and social intelligence.

Cheryl Martin, principal at Athlos Academy of Jefferson Parish, said, “Although Mr. Spano is new to the public-school setting, he never lowered his expectations or placed any restrictions on student abilities. He has found a way to engage students in history and current events. Students are eager to participate in classroom discussions.”

Gyamerah, who teaches English language learners (ELL) at Athlos Academy of St. Cloud, completed her first year of teaching and has already made her mark as an educator pursuing lifelong learning.

Courtesy Photo: Eunice Gyamerah, pictured in Minnesota with her award

Camille Wells, Chief of Operations and Growth for Athlos Academies, said, “Eunice shows leadership

by pursuing her doctorate degree and studies focused on the Somali community. She displays curiosity by being a lifelong learner, benefitting her students and helping them become English language learners. She brings her personal and professional experience to her work with ELL students, helping them acquire English to reach their academic goals. She is also an advocate for the school, helping Athlos grow and serve more children in the St. Cloud community.”

Athlos Academies is a social venture providing a new and unique approach to teaching and learning. Its mission is to provide high-quality educational opportunities for the whole child built on the three foundational pillars: Prepared Mind, Healthy Body, and Performance Character. Students participate in four scientifically developed physical activity sessions each week, Performance Character is integrated into the culture of the school, and high academic achievement is an expectation for all students.

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