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News Release

March 20, 2018

Perkins named SHAPE America Major of the Year

By Hannah Brod, media relations assistant

Kaisee Perkins

Kaisee Perkins

(Updated April 4, 2018)

Northwest Missouri State University student Kaisee Perkins says her experiences at the University have helped her become the person she wants to be, and those experiences recently earned her recognition as a SHAPE America Major of the Year.

Perkins, a senior physical education major from Unionville, Missouri, received the state award and is now a nominee for the national honor. The award is sponsored by the Society of Health and Physical Educators, and Perkins attended the SHAPE National Convention March 20-24 in Nashville.

“Kaisee is a talented, bright, task-oriented professional who will continue to enhance the positive reputation of the profession of physical education and Northwest Missouri State,” Assistant Professor of Health and Physical Education Dr. Jodie Leiss said. “Kaisee is an amazing Bearcat.”

Leiss helped Perkins and other students start the Physical Education Professionals Club last fall. Perkins is president of the club, which offers opportunities for community service and networking.

Perkins will graduate from Northwest this spring and plans to pursue a master’s degree in physical education and health. She hopes to teach elementary or middle school physical education or health and coach.

Perkins, who played sports as a high school student, initially desired a career in athletic training but also had an interest in coaching. A high school teacher recommended physical education might be a good fit for her.

“Once I got my feet dipped into some of those classes I loved it and ran with it,” Perkins said.

Perkins decided to attend Northwest late in the summer before her freshman year and says it’s a decision she hasn’t regretted. In addition to gaining teaching experience on campus, Perkins has worked as a volunteer coach and refereed games at other schools in the region.

She also has added to her portfolio as an illustrator for children’s books. In 2016, while working as a student employee with Northwest’s grounds crew, Perkins struck up a conversion with her supervisor, Bob Ebrecht, about her interest in drawing and wood burning – a talent she discovered in high school and continues to develop. Ebrecht mentioned his wife was looking for an illustrator for her children’s books, and Perkins connected with Mary Ebrecht to share ideas. Their collaboration has resulted in two published books, “Francie’s Great Adventure” in 2016 and “Robbie the Magical Catfish” in 2017.

Perkins believes she is career-ready and won’t be overwhelmed when she starts teaching professionally, unlike her peers at other schools who don’t receive the breadth of teaching experiences that Northwest’s School of Education provides.

“The thing I like about Northwest is from the very beginning I’ve been able to work with kids and start teaching,” she said. “They get you experience as fast as you can. The more experience you have, the better teacher you’re going to be when you graduate.”


Dr. Mark Hornickel
Administration Building
Room 215