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WVU degree propels graduate to shine in leadership roles

David Keiling has excelled in his career as a physical education health teacher in Frederick County (Md.) Public Schools. Keiling earned two degrees from WVU CPASS, his physical education teacher education undergraduate degree in 2009 and masters in physical education in 2015. He credits his WVU education as playing a critical role in helping him achieve numerous leadership roles to date. 

Keiling caught up recently with CPASS Professor Sean Bulger to share his good news. “I can honestly say I would not be writing this email about all the great things that have come my way if you and the rest of my professors had not instilled in me the work ethic, knowledge and confidence that I use every day in my career. Thank you for making me the professional physical educator I am today,” Keiling wrote. 

Keiling is from Mount Airy, Maryland. Upon graduation, he spent his first full year as a long-term substitute teacher for Frederick County (Md.) Public Schools (FCPS) at New Market Middle School (the middle school he attended). At the same time, he began coaching high school baseball at Middletown High School. 

In the fall of 2011 he was hired as the new PE and health teacher at West Frederick Middle School. He spent six years there and during that time, was hired to become the head varsity coach at his high school alma mater, Linganore High School. 

Since completing the WVU blended online and on campus master’s degree, Keiling has actively promoted the growth of physical education and health education in his area. “I started rewriting the curriculum for the county and was asked to transfer to a new school to pilot an iPad program for the entire county in PE. I was selected as the mentor teacher for all new secondary hires; we meet once a month to help guide them through their first year both in and out of the classroom,” he explained. 

Additionally, Keiling was recently selected for the FCPS Vanguard, a leadership-based program to develop competency-based professionals throughout the county. According to Keiling, the focus is to develop the professionals’ mindset, instructional technology, teaching practices and professional learning while networking with other FCPS professionals. He was the only health or physical education teacher chosen.  

Keiling’s passion for physical education and health grew at WVU with the first class he took. “It demonstrated to me that one can truly make a difference in a student’s education and life in more ways than just setting up games or demonstrating teaching skills,” he said.   

“I continue each day to advocate for the importance the role that physical education plays in a student’s achievement. I understand that for some of our students the only reason they look forward to coming to school each day is for physical education. Students sometimes need physical education to separate themselves from stresses they face in core classes,” Keiling added. 

Keiling says that PE builds trust and inspires relationships and successful students. “Healthy habits and lifelong fitness are crucial to the development of students. I feel passionately that my role as a physical education and health educator is just as important as that of any other teacher in terms of developing students as lifelong learners,” he added. 

Keiling, whose mother graduated from WVU in 1978, knew from his first visit to campus that he would attend school in Morgantown. He praises multiple faculty members for their positive impact. Among others, Keiling credits Dr. Andrew Hawkins for stressing the importance of dealing with each student as an individual. Meanwhile, Bruce Wilmoth instilled confidence in Keiling’s abilities, at the same time establishing high expectations. 

Dr. Sean Bulger prepared Keiling for shifting into his career as a teacher. “He helped me in all aspects from interviewing, getting my certification and becoming a professional,” said Keiling.

Keiling mirrors his health teaching after Dr. Ruth Kershner through story telling; making the topics fun and engaging and keeping the expectations and student learning at a high level. 

“I am very proud of the work that you continue to do in FCPS. Your emergence as a leader in your school is noteworthy and reflective of your commitment to the community and families that you serve,” Sean Bulger, PETE professor.   

“WVU helped me launch my career by giving me the opportunity to learn how to grow as a professional, stretch myself and gain confidence. This occurred through multiple opportunities to teach and refine my skills with knowledge, all with a great amount of support from each of my professors,” Keiling explained. 

Keiling explains that the CPASS PETE program, from the very first day, places students in a classroom setting to become the best teacher possible. “I could work on my skills, with countless hours of instruction, before my student teaching. Talking to colleagues around my county and sharing my experiences at WVU, they are impressed with the opportunities that I was given to be a teacher and placed in multiple teaching environments before student teaching,” he said. 

“The opportunity to learn, practice and refine teaching skill all before “walking across the stage” generates a tremendous amount of confidence to become the very best professional educator. While achieving my master’s degree, the combination of online and on campus classes helped me continue working and coaching while I was going back to school,” Keiling added. 

Keiling says that WVU understands the needs of today’s professional educators. “The 2.5-year degree allows students to expedite their education and excel. There is no doubt that my WVU education has played a critical role in achieving the status of VanGuard teacher and mentor for newly-hired FCPS PE-Health teachers,” said Keiling. 

The FCPS All-Star employee is working with three PE teachers to create Gifs of different skills, putting them into google forms and assessment tools for other teachers in the county. “I have been working with my seventh graders in using them in everyday lessons to enhance and improve skills and techniques. On the health side of things, I am helping the state of Maryland to revamp our opiate curriculum for students throughout the state,” Keiling concluded. 
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