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McCarthy speaks at national convention, receives 'of the year' designation

Meadowview Elementary School phy ed teacher Joe McCarthy is doing his best to address childhood obesity. And these days, he's taking his efforts outside the school building, and inside national conventions.

McCarthy was in Washington, D.C., last week for the two-day GENYOUth Physical Activity and Nutrition Learning Summit. He was there not so much to learn, but to teach.

McCarthy was asked to sit on a 20-person leadership panel during the event. He was joined by professional athletes, college professors, representatives from food companies and the 16th Surgeon General. He was the only elementary school teacher on the panel.

"That was kind of cool," McCarthy said. "It was a nice group of people from the public and private sector whose goals are to reduce the trend of childhood obesity."

The summit was held Sept. 18-19. McCarthy was on the roundtable panel on Tuesday, but then also led a 10-minute presentation Wednesday on some of the programs he has implemented in Farmington. He was introduced by NFL commentator Howie Long.

The summit put McCarthy in contact with men and women from around the United States, all of whom are working to address childhood obesity. He met with several former NFL players and talked with teachers who work with students of all ages. He was approached by representatives of food companies and asked to give his input on their efforts. He was even invited to speak in five different states.

But he wasn't only teaching others. He was there to learn, too.

"I've learned a lot. There were three science speakers there, talking about the experiments they have done. I learned a lot from just talking to them, on how important breakfast is for kids and student achievement."

Teacher of the Year

McCarthy is also being honored by the Minnesota Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance. The organization has named McCarthy the Physical Education Teacher of the Year for the state of Minnesota.

He currently serves as the president of the Physical Education Council on the MAHPERD, but the nomination as teacher of the year came as a surprise, and an honor.

"I'm extremely honored and humbled to be awarded the Minnesota teacher of the year," he said.

With the designation, McCarthy is now nominated as a candidate for the National Physical Education Teacher of the Year. He receives his state award in an upcoming ceremony in October.

"It's been an awesome year," he said.

Michelle Leonard

Michelle Leonard joined the Woodbury Bulletin staff in November, 2014, after 14 years covering news for the Bulletin's sister publication, the Farmington Rosemount Independent Town Pages.  Michelle earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications: News-Editorial from Mankato State University in 1991. She is an active member of the American Legion Auxiliary Clifford Larson Unit 189 of Farmington, and served as the 2014-15 Third District President to the American Legion Auxiliary Department of Minnesota. Michelle is also the volunteer coordinator for the Minnesota Newspaper Museum which is open annually during the Minnesota State Fair. She has earned Minnesota Newspaper Association awards in Investigative Reporting, Local News Coverage, Feature Photography and Column Writing. 

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