Former South Mountain Teacher Honored as NJ Phys Ed Teacher of the Year

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Mark Friedrich

Mark Friedrich, a former teacher at the South Mountain Elementary School in South Orange and a current Millburn High School teacher, is being honored as the Physical Education Teacher of the Year by a state association. Mark’s wife Donna Friedrich is an academic intervention specialist at Seth Boyden School in Maplewood. Read more below.

From a press release: 

The New Jersey Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (NJAHPERD) is pleased to announce that Mark Friedrich, Health & Physical Education Lead Teacher at Millburn High School, will be receiving the High School Physical Education Teacher of the Year Award at the NJAHPERD Awards Banquet on February 21, 2016, at the Ocean Place Resort & Spa in Long Branch, NJ.

This award recognizes teachers that conduct high quality physical education programs as reflected in the NJ Core Curriculum Content Standards as well as in the SHAPE Standards for K-12 physical education programs. Such special teachers utilize various teaching methodologies and plan innovative learning experiences to meet the needs of all students. They serve as positive role models epitomizing personal health and fitness, enjoyment of activity, sportsmanship and sensitivity to the needs of all students. In addition, they regularly participate in professional development opportunities and provide service to the profession through leadership, presentations and/or writing.

Mark Friedrich began his professional teaching career as an elementary school physical education teacher in the South Orange/Maplewood School District in 1995.  Mark remained in that position for eight years at South Mountain Elementary School until he accepted the challenge of starting an Adventure Education program at Millburn High School in 2004.  Mark has been teaching Health and Physical Education at Millburn High School for the past 13 years where he is primarily utilized as an Adventure Education Teacher three marking periods out of the school year. Mark has had extensive technical skill training and serves as a certified Challenge Course Manager for Millburn High School. Under Mark’s direction, two grants have been written over the past ten years enabling the Adventure Challenge Course to expand from 6 High Elements in 2005 to the current 18 High Elements in 2016. Mark has created an experiential education environment at Millburn High School that ranks among the favorite courses offered to the students.

In addition to teaching, Mark serves the school community as the Freshmen boys lacrosse coach and as the faculty advisor for the Wounded Warrior Club. Mark’s lacrosse teams have raised over $11,000 combined the last two seasons for Breast Cancer Research. In 2011, Mark was named Lead Teacher for the Health and Physical Education Department at Millburn High School. Mark’s responsibilities as Lead Teacher include student scheduling, course offerings, curriculum planning, and all yearly budgeting for equipment.

Friedrich says, “I’m truly honored to receive this award. This is a very proud moment for me and for the Adventure Education Program at MHS.”

Mark is a 1995 Graduate of Montclair State University and received his Masters Degree in Educational Leadership from Kean University in 2009.  Currently Mark is completing his second Masters Degree in Adventure Education from Plymouth State University in New Hampshire.

Mark and his wife Donna met while teaching together in South Orange/Maplewood and have been married since 2001.  They reside in Union Twp. with their three children Emma (10), Julia (7), Ryan (4) and their dog “Jedi”.

The New Jersey Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (NJAHPERD) is dedicated to advancing quality health education, physical education, recreation, dance education, and athletics through professional development, programming, advocacy, and collegial exchange.  The Association promotes the development of healthy active lifestyles for New Jersey’s students, educators and community members.


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