The Journey and the Learning
Andy is appreciative and grateful for the things he has been able to do in his life. He grew up in a difficult environment, and experienced trauma from a family life plagued by mental illness, addiction and depression, but to this day he firmly believes that it was his early experiences with competitive sport and his passion for physical activity that gave him the specific purpose, hope and meaning that he needed to move forward in his life in productive ways .
As a competitive athlete, Andy played American football for 13 seasons as a quarterback and punter, finishing off his career playing 5 straight years for the University of Windsor in Ontario, Canada. He was nominated as team captain and also won all-star recognition as one of the leading punters in the country. He has also played golf competitively over the years. The path of sport and physical activity led Andy to find important mentors in his life who believed in him and his abilities, which resulted in Andy being inspired to coach, and this ultimately sparked his desire to join the teaching profession.
Andy had the opportunity to share his story on the TED X stage in 2017, and it was during this talk that he opened up about the mental illness and addiction issues that plagued his family while growing up. He shared the story of losing two brothers, one to suicide and one to drug addiction, and how this led to Andy taking a deep dive into his own personal narrative to better understand what it was in his life that allowed him to find a purpose and meaning in ways that his brothers couldn't. His talk was very successful in shining a light on the importance of mental, emotional and physical well-being.
On the Education Path
His career in education has led him to live and work in Japan, Azerbaijan, Cambodia, China and Saudi Arabia. Early on in his career he specialized in teaching physical education, and along the way he was fortunate enough to team up with some world class researchers in the field of physical education and health. It was through these connections that he deepened his understanding of important pedagogical approaches that have proven impacts on teaching and learning, not just in physical education, but also in visual art, music, and world languages in the classroom setting.
As a result of these experiences, Andy has had ongoing opportunities to present his work in more than 30 countries around the world and facilitate numerous teacher training workshops in Europe, the Asia-Pacific region, the Middle East, North America and Australia. As well, he has been a keynote speaker at several educational conferences in different parts of the world over the past ten years.
Due to the COVID pandemic, Andy has spent the past year working virtually with schools in Hungary, Singapore, Abu Dhabi, South Korea, and England, helping to redefine what is possible given the constraints and restrictions of the pandemic. Andy's work was recently featured in the book Meaningful Physical Education: An Approach for Teaching and Learning, which is aimed at sharing a specific framework for inspiring joy and meaning through physical activity, sport, and exercise.
Andy has been asked to guest lecture virtually at several different universities around the world, sharing his own approach to teaching and learning in order to inspire pre-service teachers to think about what is possible as they embark on their careers. He finds deep value in these exchanges and loves the opportunity to connect with the next generation of future educators.
Andy is deeply committed to his role at The KAUST School in Saudi Arabia and thoroughly enjoys working with teachers and being part of the great leadership team at the school. The KAUST School is a wonderful place to work and the community is an equally great place to live.