Member Spotlight: Gerald Cernicky, Westmoreland County PSEA-Retired

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Member Spotlight: Gerald Cernicky, Westmoreland County PSEA-Retired

Voice: July 2017

PSEA-Retired member Gerald Cernicky recently won the PSEA-PACE Stand Up for Public Education giveaway. He believes in regularly supporting PSEA-PACE.

“It’s important to me,” he said.

Cernicky is always ready to act when it comes to education issues – whether its voting for pro-public education candidates, going to meetings, contributing to PSEA-PACE, or writing to senators or representatives.

And he encourages those around him – both retired and active members – to do the same.

“I knew all along, PSEA had our back,” Cernicky said. “This is my way to pay back and say ‘thank you.’”

Cernicky found his true passion as a health and physical education teacher.

“I absolutely loved every minute of my teaching,” he said. “I came in with the same attitude the very first day to the very last day.”

He spent 35 years educating elementary students at Kiski Area School District in Westmoreland County.

The job was a busy one. When he began teaching, the district had 20 elementary schools. Cernicky said he went to a different school every day, with two colleagues sharing the load.

He believed in a cross-curricular approach to physical education, and he mirrored his teaching with the lessons his students were learning in their other classes.

“The philosophy I used was a sound mind and a sound body,” he said. “After they graduated, I hoped they would carry on a prescription of health and fitness.”

Cernicky also explored technology use in the classroom over the years. He served as the head of the physical education department and, because of his interest in technology, he was responsible for teaching some classroom teachers how to use smart boards.

He traveled the country giving presentations on the use of technology in health and fitness. He also connected with colleagues from around the world, sharing ideas and experiences.

“When the kids walked in, they knew they would get something more special,” Cernicky said. “People probably think we just throw out the dodgeball. But we are so much more than that.”