DUNDALK — Dundalk Middle School’s physical education instructor Brian Bandurchin was one of four Baltimore County Public Schools educators selected to win the Simon A. McNeely Award from the Maryland Society of Health and Physical Educators (SHAPE).
On Nov. 16, Bandurchin received his award at the SHAPE Maryland Awards Banquet at the Clarion Resort Fontainebleau Hotel in Ocean City. Additionally, he participated in professional development seminars, where he was provided new and innovative ideas on how to make physical education and health classes more beneficial to students.
Simon A. McNeely was an educator, a longtime member of the President’s Council for Physical Fitness and a member of the U.S. and International Olympic Committee. His lifetime contributions to promote lifetime fitness led to the American Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance to prompt the state subsidiaries to present annual awards to members who demonstrate outstanding innovations and excellence in teaching those subjects.
Bandurchin, who has been teaching physical education for almost 18 years, says he was shocked when he got word that he received a nomination for the award.
“When I received notification that I had won, I thought it was a joke,” Bandurchin said.
“It’s not every day a gym teacher gets an award. It shows that we are not just glorified recess. We educate our students with different activities and concepts in order for them to be able to make healthy choices, both physically and mentally. Receiving this award gives our department credit for what we do on a daily basis.”
Dundalk Middle School principal Natalie Adams describes Bandurchin as a phenomenal educator, leader, mentor and “Superman.”
“We lovingly call him Superman. He is a hero to many and we are very fortunate to have him here,” Adams said.
“Whenever there is a need, he is always willing to step in and lend a hand. He often organizes events that promote a positive work environment and foster teamwork.”
And it’s not just positivity that Bandurchin brings to the classroom. He sponsors mentor groups to promote equity amongst different student groups, coordinates the annual Turkey Trot and coordinates the annual Winter Wonderland, said Adams.
“We are so excited about the well-deserved honor,” Adams said.
Attending the SHAPE Maryland Awards Banquet was a humbling experience, according to Bandurchin.
“It was an honor to share the night with so many outstanding educators in our field.”