PUSD's Cindi Chase named SHAPE America National Adapted Physical Education Teacher of the Year

Congratulations to PUSD educator Cindi Chase, who has earned SHAPE America’s National Adapted Physical Education Teacher of the Year Award. 

Ms. Chase has served PUSD students for 17 years, currently as an adapted physical education teacher for Vintage Hills Elementary, Harvest Park Middle and Foothill High School. 


“This award represents everyone that I’ve worked with,” said Cindi Chase. “This is a collaborative and a connected field that I’m very proud to be a part of. This is all about our students.”

Ms. Chase has led efforts for an inclusive PE program that began at Vintage Hills which provides integrated PE classes. These classes involve 3-5 students with special needs participating in a general education PE class. The students who attend this integrated PE program also have the opportunity to participate in music and science classes. Ms. Chase works with our students with special needs during these classes to provide a supportive learning environment.Students in these programs not only learn to interact and support each other, they develop strong bonds and relationships. 

"Cindi has always gone above and beyond for students. We are so proud of Cindi and her continued dedication and commitment to her kids,” expressed Vintage Hills Principal Michael O’Brien. “She is so deserving of this award."

In addition to her work in PUSD schools, Ms. Chase also helped bring Special Olympics events to Pleasanton, which has created countless opportunities for our students with special needs to shine through a variety of friendly sports competitions. Her leadership and dedication has allowed our school communities to host these events, which provides valuable experiences for our hosting students and staff to assist in creating a more inclusive learning environment for all students. 

“Cindi's genuine care for her students is evident by her creative lessons as she works with her students on their gross motor, play, recreation  and sports skills,” said PUSD Special Education Director Mary Jude Doerpinghaus. “Her students' love for their teacher is evident by the smiles on their faces during their lessons. Cindi's inclusive spirit and can-do attitude have left a positive imprint on children across the district and our broader community for many years.”

Even during the Shelter-in-Place, Miss Cindi has developed unique, personalized lessons for her students.  She has participated in virtual class lessons, demonstrated exercise techniques in her backyard and living room, and has even included mindfulness and Star Wars lessons for her padawans for "May the 4th be with You" day. 

“I use multiple strategies based on what works best for students,” said Chase. “I use Zoom and Google classroom. I now also have a YouTube Channel for my families. We’re still providing quality education - making sure that the social emotional support and connections are put first.” 

The road to earning National Adapted Physical Education Teacher of the Year was a lengthy process including two application processes, a 20-minute video illustrating Cindi’s teaching process, and a panel interview with SHAPE. 

“Congratulations to Cindi for this outstanding achievement.  Not only does she have the skills to be an amazing adapted physical education teacher, she also shows the passion, creativity and caring of an incredible human being,” said Assistant Superintendent of Student Support Services Ed Diolazo. “The students that she serves and the community of Pleasanton are very fortunate to have her as a member of the special education team.”