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Improving Physical Activity and Physical Education from State Policy to School Practices (2010)

State and district leaders are responding to the need for policies to improve the nutrition and physical activity environments in schools. But just putting new policies in place is not enough—sustained support and attention to how well the policies are working are required to significantly impact nutrition and physical activity behaviors and reverse trends in childhood obesity.

This webinar will focus on Hawaii’s and Tennessee’s physical activity/physical education policies by using the “through-line” analytical method, an educational leadership model that states, school districts and schools can use to align policies, practices and actions related to school wellness. The program will feature the key leadership and learning factors necessary for successful policy implementation from the state policy level down to implementation at the district and school levels.

At the conclusion of the workshop, participants will be able to:

  • Apply the “through-line” education model to align policies, practices, and actions related to physical activity/physical education and nutrition.
  •  Understand the reciprocal accountability needed to improve and align strategies and actions between state, district, and school efforts to improve student wellness outcomes.
  •  Describe successful models for improving physical activity/physical education that efforts from state policy to classroom practices.

Support for this webinar is provided by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation through its Leadership for Healthy Communities national program.


National, State, District, and Local leaders implementing school wellness policy initiatives including: state boards of education, state departments of education, coordinated school health leaders, public health officials interested in school health, district school boards, school administrators, school wellness policy leaders, school health council members, and classroom teachers.


3:00pm EST – Welcome and Opening Remarks
Elizabeth Walker, NASBE

3:05pm – State Policies to Classroom Practice
Applying an Educational Leadership Model to School Wellness Policies
Elizabeth Walker, NASBE

3:15pm – Models of Success Introduction
Emily Kujawa, NASBE

3:20pm – Hawaii’s Physical Activity/ Physical Education Policy
Breene Harimoto, Member, Hawaii State Board of Education
David Randall, Educational Specialist, Health and Physical Education, Hawaii Department of Education

3:35pm – Interaction: Questions, Answers, & Input

3:40pm – Tennessee’s Physical Activity Policy
State Senator William Ketron, Tennessee
Rebecca Johns Womack, PhD, Interim Executive Director, Office of Coordinated School Health, Tennessee Department of Education
Carman Smith, Coordinated School Health Supervisor, Lincoln County Department of Education, Fayetteville, TN
Debbie Foster, Principal, Highland Rim Elementary, Fayetteville, TN
Heather Hendrix, Physical Education Teacher, Highland Rim Elementary, Fayetteville, TN
Jim Stewart, Principal, Lincoln County High School, Fayetteville, TN

4:15pm – Interaction: Questions, Answers, & Input

4:20pm – Closing
Elizabeth Walker, NASBE


Elizabeth Walker, MS
Project Director, National Association of State Boards of Education

Elizabeth Walker directs NASBE’s Healthy Eating cooperative agreement with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Division of Adolescent and School Health. She works with national and federal agencies to promote high impact, evidence based policy changes to support healthy school environments. She also provides technical assistance and resources to states and their boards of education to build capacity around school nutrition and health.

Previously, Elizabeth coordinated the Nemours childhood obesity prevention campaign which focused on changing the policies and practices in school, community, primary care and child care environments. At the Harvard Prevention Research Center, she focused on childhood obesity prevention in schools and early childhood environments through research, policy development, state coalition building, and youth engagement. She led the development of the Action for Healthy Kids, Students Taking Charge toolkit which is now being used as their national youth engagement program. Prior to that, she worked at Babies and Children’s Hospital in New York, developing community-based obesity prevention programs for women, children and adolescents. Elizabeth earned a bachelor’s degree in health studies and exercise physiology at Boston University and a master’s degree in exercise science from the University of Oregon.

Emily Kujawa, MPH
Project Associate, National Association of State Boards of Education

Emily Kujawa provides support for NASBE’s Obesity Prevention Project through Leadership for Healthy Communities, a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. She assists with state technical assistance, provides logistical support, researches, writes, and collaborates around physical activity and healthy eating issues.

Prior to joining NASBE in January 2010, Emily was a Project Coordinator with the National School Boards Association, coordinating their RWJF-supported childhood obesity project. She has also worked as a Research Assistant at the George Washington University’s Mid-Atlantic Center for Children’s Health and the Environment, a Nutrition Policy Intern with the Center for Science in the Public Interest, an Executive Committee Member with DC Action for Healthy Kids. Emily received her M.P.H. in health promotion from the George Washington University in 2008 and her B.S. in human biology from Michigan State University in 2006.

Breene Harimoto
Member, Hawaii State Board of Education

Breene Harimoto has served on the Hawaii State Board of Education since 2002. He served two terms as Board Chairman. Mr. Harimoto, his wife, and their three children are all proud graduates of Hawaii’s public schools. Prior to joining the Board, Mr. Harimoto was a long-time volunteer in our public schools and served on the site-based management council of two schools for over 10 years. He is also a long-time community volunteer and leader. He co-founded a youth center to help students to stay out of trouble. He is founder and executive director of a foundation that owns and operates a community center with programs for children, youth, adults, and seniors. He is currently spearheading a major project to construct an adult day health and early childhood education center on the foundation’s property. Mr. Harimoto is also an active member of the Lions Club and his local community association.

Mr. Harimoto is a former information technology professional. His past positions include: Deputy Director of the City & County of Honolulu’s IT department; Manager of a national IT company’s Project Management Office in Honolulu; Data Center Operations Manager of Hawaii’s largest bank; and Management Consulting Manager in the Honolulu office of a national CPA firm. Mr. Harimoto is now following his calling in public service and is employed as an aide to a Honolulu City Councilman.

David Randall
Educational Specialist, Health and Physical Education, Hawaii Department of Education

Mr. Randall is the Hawaii Department of Education Educational Specialist for Health and Physical Education. This year is Dave’s 17th with the DOE. He has previously taught Health and Physical Education, been a District Resource Teacher for Health and Physical Education and spent four years as the State Educational Specialist for Coordinated School Health. It is in that capacity that he first became involved in systems, environment and policy change for the Hawaii DOE.

William Ketron
State Senator, Tennessee

William Ketron has been a member of the Tennessee State Senate through four General Assemblies (103rd-106th) and represents the 13th Senatorial district (Lincoln, Marshall, Maury, and part of Rutherford Counties). He is a small business owner in Murfreesboro, TN and has served as the Rutherford County Commissioner, along with numerous organizational affiliations such as the First United Methodist Church; the Humane Society; National Eagle Scout Association; Rutherford County Volunteer Fire Department; Professional Insurance Agents of Tennessee, and others. He has also served as Chair of the Senate State and Local Government Committee and the Fiscal Review Committee, as well as the Deputy Speaker of the Senate Republican Caucus. Mr. Ketron received a B.S. from Middle Tennessee State University.

Rebecca Johns-Wommack, PhD
Executive Director, Office of Coordinated School Health, Tennessee Department of Education

Dr. Rebecca Johns-Wommack is the Executive Director with the Tennessee Department of Education, Office of Coordinated School Health. Rebecca has an expertise in school health, child and adult learning, and wellness education. Rebecca has co-authored two books titled Concepts in Fitness: A Balanced Approach to Good Health, and Discovering Optimal Wellness to Change Your Life.

Rebecca received a Bachelor’s degree from Middle Tennessee State University in Mass Communications. She received her second Bachelor’s degree from the University of Northern Colorado, where she majored in Kinesiology with emphasis in physical education. She completed her Master’s degree in Health and her Education Specialist degree with a concentration in Curriculum and Instruction from Middle Tennessee State University. Rebecca earned her Doctorate of Education degree from Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida with a concentration in Child and Youth Studies.

Carman Smith
Coordinated School Health Supervisor, Lincoln County Department of Education, Fayetteville, TN

Carman Smith is the Coordinated School Health Supervisor for Lincoln County (Fayetteville, TN). In this position, she supervises nurses, guidance counselors, and P.E. teachers. She is also responsible for updating and implementing the district-wide school safety plan. Previously, she taught biology, anatomy and physiology, chemistry, and physical science at Lincoln County High School for 22 years. She received a B.S. in biology from Middle Tennessee State University and a Masters in Administration and Supervision from Tennessee State University.

Jim Stewart
Principal, Lincoln County High School, Fayetteville, TN

Jim Stewart has been the Principal at Lincoln County High School for the past 14 years. He started teaching in 1965 and moved into administration in 1970. Jim graduated from Erskine College with a B.A. in English, and from Middle Tennessee State University with a Masters in Administration & Supervision.

Debbie Foster
Principal, Highland Rim Elementary School, Fayetteville, TN

Ms. Foster is in her second year as Principal at Highland Rim Elementary School in Fayetteville, TN. Highland Rim serves approximately 650 students in PreK – 8th grades. Previously, she spent 8 years as the Central Office Supervisor in Lincoln County, TN, overseeing Human Relations, Student Relations, and Student Discipline, as well as 15 years teaching high school algebra and geometry. Ms. Foster has a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Secondary Mathematics, and a Master’s of Science and Education Specialist Degrees in Administration and Supervision.

Heather Hendrix
Physical Education Teacher, Highland Rim Elementary School, Fayetteville, TN

Ms. Hendrix teaches Physical Education at Highland Rim Elementary in Fayetteville, TN. She began teaching at Highland Rim in 2008, and has each student for PE every day. She graduated from Athens State University in 2005, with a B.A. in Physical Education.


View the links and attachments below for resources highlighted during the webinar.

HI Board of Education Health, Wellness and Safety Policy
HI Wellness Guidelines
HI Wellness Guidelines Toolkit
HI State Success Stories in Coordinated School Health

TN DOE Office of Coordinated School Health, PE/PA and Wellness webpage

CDC DASH Report (EXECUTIVE SUMMARY): The Association Between School-Based Physical Activity, Including Physical Education, and Academic Performance
CDC DASH Report (FULL REPORT): The Association Between School-Based Physical Activity, Including Physical Education, and Academic Performance
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