The New Jersey Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (NJAHPERD) awarded Mark Friedrich, a health and physical education teacher at Millburn High School, the High School Physical Education Teacher of the Year Award at the NJAHPERD Awards Banquet on Feb. 21 at the Ocean Place Resort & Spa in Long Branch.
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.
Friedrich began his professional teaching career as an elementary school physical education teacher in the South Orange/Maplewood School District in 1995, a position he held for eight years until he accepted the challenge of starting an Adventure Education program at Millburn High School in 2004. Friedrich 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.
Friedrich 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 six High Elements in 2005 to the current 18 High Elements in 2016. Friedrich has created an experiential education environment at Millburn High School that ranks among the favorite courses offered to the students.
In addition to teaching, Friedrich serves the school community as the freshmen boys’ lacrosse coach and as the faculty advisor for the Wounded Warrior Club. His lacrosse teams have raised more than $11,000 combined the last two seasons for Breast Cancer Research.
Friedrich is a 1995 graduate of Montclair State University; received his master’s in Educational Leadership from Kean University in 2009; and is currently completing his second master’s in Adventure Education from Plymouth State University in New Hampshire.