Kathleen Engle (center) is congratulated on her selection as a member of the National Teacher Hall of Fame by Dr. Nancy Hall, (left) dean of the College of Education at Black Hills State University, and Dr. Betsy Silva, (right) chair of the Department of Physical Education at BHSU. Hall, who nominated Engle for the national award, noted that Engle should be recognized for her innovative approach to education and her unparalleled ability to gain students’ respect and trust.
In a surprise announcement, Kathleen Engle, a 1980 graduate of Black Hills State University who now teaches physical education at the middle school in Newcastle, Wyo., was named to the National Teacher Hall of Fame.

Engle was one of only five teachers across the nation notified today that they had been selected for this award. Teachers who have demonstrated commitment and dedication to teaching our nation's children are selected for induction in the national hall of fame.

Engle earned a bachelor of science degree in education from BHSU in 1980 and later earned her master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from BHSU in 1994.

Engle, who was obviously surprised by the award presentation, told her students that the award really belongs to them.

“It’s not about me. You inspire me. I couldn’t do this without you,” Engle said. “Education is the power of the future. This is for you.”

An award plaque will be displayed in the middle school. In addition Engle receives a $1,000 scholarship for a student in her school district who is planning to pursue a degree in education, $1,000 in materials for her school district, and a permanent display in The National Teachers Hall of Fame.  She will be formally inducted into the Hall of Fame this summer.

Engle, who has been teaching for 26 years, has received numerous teaching awards, including the BHSU Excellence in Education Award (2000), the Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Golden Apple Award (2000), the Milken Foundation National Educator Award (1997), the Disney Salutes the American Teacher Award (1995), and Wyoming Middle School Physical Education Teacher of the Year (1994).

Engle has authored and received several grants totaling more than $90,000 to integrate academic concepts into the physical education world. In addition, she procured $265,000 for a new fitness center in Newcastle. Engle notes that the fitness center empowered students to take responsibility for their own lifetime fitness not only during class, but also before and after school and in the summer.

Dr. Nancy Hall, dean of the College of Education at BHSU, noted in her nomination form that Engle is an exceptional teacher who continues to make a profound difference on the lives of students.

“On a rare occasion a person becomes aware of an individual whose teaching career is truly remarkable. Not just an event within their career, but a career built upon a daily commitment to excellence and unparalleled ability to gain students’ respect and trust. Kathleen Engle is that individual,” Hall wrote.

Engle says she was inspired to become a teacher after visiting her grandmother’s country schoolhouse.

“My mom and grandmother were teachers and great role models; I aspire to be like them. They have inspired me to accept challenges, take risks, and create change,” Engle says.

Engle, in turn, has inspired her two daughters who now are pursuing education degrees at BHSU and are members of  the Yellow Jacket volleyball team. Engle also serves as a mentor for beginning teachers and student teachers.

“Many of my past students have become teachers, and my own daughters are pursuing degrees in education. I would like to believe that my influence and my example have played a major role in their quest to choose this most worthy profession,” Engle says.

“Teaching is focused on students and is a very noble profession,” Engle says. “My mission is to improve student’s individual fitness literacy, increase their skill performances, and provide them with a cohesive behavioral environment. I believe that physical fitness, if delivered effectively, can be the single most important tool we can offer our students.”

“My approach to teaching utilizes various teaching methodologies and innovative learning experiences to meet individual student’s needs,” Engle says. “I strive for excellence and expect the same from my students.”

Scott Schoop, principal of the Newcastle Middle School, praised Engle for her accomplishments and her dedication to her students and the school.

“Mrs. Engle is a phenomenal teacher,” Schoop said. “She is a leader who has brought fitness to the forefront in our community.”

As a part of the presentation, Bill Lambert, chairman of the Weston County School Board, congratulated Engle and read a laudatory letter from the Wyoming Governor Dave Freudenthal.

The National Teacher Hall of Fame was established in 1989, and the first class of honored teachers was inducted in 1992.  Each year, five career teachers from across the nation with 20 or more years of experience  are selected by a national committee to be inducted. There are currently 80 members from a variety of teaching disciplines, representing 32 states and the District of Columbia. Engle is the first Wyoming resident to be selected for this honor.

The Hall of Fame is committed to drawing the public's attention to exceptional PreK-12 teachers through a museum, teacher resource center, and recognition program which honors five of the nation's most outstanding PreK-12 educators each year.

The NTHF is the only facility of its kind dedicated to recognizing career teachers, to preserving and promoting education, and to serving our country by inspiring others to enter the teaching profession. A National Selection Committee representing educational organizations, NTHF membership, and corporate America consider nominations from a pool of certified public or non-public teachers, active or retired, who have at least 20 years of full-time experience teaching in grades PreK-12.