By CHRIS AGEE
Kayla Peak, a 1984 graduate of Mineral Wells High School, was recently named university physical educator of the year by the Texas Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance.
According to her mother, Joyce Watson, Peak currently serves as an assistant professor in kinesiology at Tarleton State University, where she is also coordinator of the kinesiology graduate program.
"She grew up in Mineral Wells and my husband and I are retired teachers in Mineral Wells," Watson said, "so still a lot of Mineral Wells people remember her."
Even in high school, Watson said her daughter showed a great interest in sports and an inclination toward teaching.
"She played basketball for Mineral Wells High School," she said, explaining passion for that sport seems to run in the family.
"I coached for three years in junior varsity basketball," Watson added.
After earning her B.S. and M.Ed. in physical education from TSU, Peak earned a doctoral degree in the field from Texas A&M University Commerce in 1995.
Her teaching career began with an assistant athletic director position at TAMU, which subsequently translated into a decade-long position as the school's director of campus recreation.
She joined TSU's faculty in 2006.
TAHPERD recognized Peak for creative course designs that help students become engaged in the learning process.
In addition to this honor, which was presented during a convention last month in Galveston, Peak has received several other awards as an instructor.
In 2009, 2010, and 2011, TAMU presented Peak with its Excellence in Teaching award. Also in 2011, she received the Jack and Louise Arthur Award, recognizing classroom excellence, from TSU.