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A field for all

Posted 8:48 a.m. Monday, July 8, 2024

Cadi Doyle, ’16, was honored with the Adapted Physical Education Teacher of the Year Award by the Society of Health and Physical Educators (SHAPE America). [Doyle pictured on right]

Alumna Cadi Doyle receives National Teacher of the Year award for adapted physical education 

From UWL classrooms to national acclaim, Cadi Doyle, ’16, is making her mark on the adapted physical education field. 

In March, Doyle was honored with the Adapted Physical Education Teacher of the Year Award by the Society of Health and Physical Educators (SHAPE America). This national recognition follows her being awarded the 2022 Virginia Adapted Physical Education Teacher of the Year.  

“It is such an honor to be recognized in a field I am so passionate about and for the accomplishments I’ve made with my students,” Doyle says. 

Doyle found her passion for adapted physical education (PE) during her undergraduate years at SUNY Brockport, when she visited a respite program for children with autism. 

“I ended up joining the program and, for the next 3 and a half years, was a one-on-one buddy to a little boy who has autism,” Doyle explains. “He taught me so much about myself and inspired me to see how I might work more with children with disabilities. Then, I learned about adapted PE and was able to add the adapted PE concentration to my degree.” 

Following graduation from Brockport, Doyle used a federal grant to fund her master’s degree, which brought her to UWL. 

“I am so grateful for my experience at UWL and the guidance that Dr. Garth Tymeson provided me as a graduate student,” Doyle says. “The program provided many hands-on experiences, including the children’s motor development program, physical activity mentoring program, adult fitness, adapted sports league and clinical experience with adapted PE teachers in local schools. These experiences gave me a skillset and strategies that I continue to use today.” 

This school year, Doyle started a peer buddies' program allowing general education students to join a self-contained PE class. "Self-contained" refers to a classroom or program specifically designed for students with disabilities, providing individualized instruction that caters to the unique needs of each student.  

Reflections Doyle collected from students who participated in the program, both with and without disabilities, found that all members enjoyed the program and already had fond memories of their experiences. 

“We got to go on a class field trip to a Special Olympics Little Feet Meet. All the students (and staff) had the best day. One of my students asked if we could go back one day,” Doyle recalls.

The most rewarding part of her job, Doyle shares, is the students she works with each day. 

Doyle received the award in March at the SHAPE America National Conference in Cleveland.

“Building relationships with students and their families and watching them make progress and learn new skills is the highlight of my career,” she says. 

Doyle also recognizes the important role adapted PE plays in promoting inclusivity and overall well-being in schools and communities.  

“Adapted PE focuses on a student’s individual needs and provides opportunities for everyone to participate and experience success in PE,” Doyle says. “In doing so, this allows all students to feel belonging and build confidence to be active members of their community.” 

For students interested in taking a similar career path as Doyle, she recommends reaching out to adapted PE teachers already in the field. 

“It is a small community where everyone is willing to help each other,” Doyle says. “Also, get your master’s degree in a program like UWL’s, where you’ll get hands-on experience and attend conferences to network and learn the latest happenings in our field.” 

The strategies and principles Doyle gained from her UWL education continue to inspire her to be the best teacher she can be — one of many reasons why she has been honored for her contributions as a teacher multiple times. 

Doyle says: “It is important for us as educators to continue learning and change our practices or ideology when we learn new infromation to best serve our students.” 


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