Healthy Teachers Are Better Role Models for Their Students

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One local school superintendent is battling childhood obesity through his teachers.

At the beginning of the school year, Houston County Superintendent Tim Pitchford encouraged his faculty to get fit.

Julie Parrish, a second grade teacher at Rehobeth Elementary School, runs every day at a local gym. She's trying to get fit and set a good example for her young students.

“We need to get kids out to play more. I’m trying to let them know how good it is to get fit and it's good for the body,” says Parrish.

Thirty percent of Houston County teachers like Julie work out daily lifting weights, sweating, increasing their heart rate.

Paradise Fitness has seen a 15 percent increase in teachers at their gym this school year.

“With [the] obesity epidemic teachers are stepping out to set good role models,” said David Smith of Paradise Fitness.

Cottonwood High Teachers Kristina and Jennifer White stomp out their stress every afternoon in aerobics class.

White says the class, “Helps with stress level, it gets my mind off things and helps you relax.”

Kindergarten Rehobeth Special Ed Teacher Niki Swann also relieves stress by pumping iron. “I just feel much better if I do exercise for the day,” she says.

Superintendent Tim Pitchford goes to a different gym, but gets the same workout on the treadmill. He looks to motivate his teachers to be good role models for students and the community.

“I’m convinced a healthy teacher is a happy teacher, one who rarely is absent, doesn't get stressed and isn't easily fatigued,” says Superintendent Pitchford.

Even the superintendent’s wife is in the gym working on her fitness; something many teachers hope will slim down their physique and encourage their students to get fit.

By 2009, Pitchford hopes to have 75 percent of all teachers working out.

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