kellie sellers photo

Take 5 with Kellie Sellers

June 19, 2017

Kellie Sellers is RISD’s Director of Health and Physical Education. Her job responsibilities include helping all 38,000 RISD students in their PE journey through elementary, junior high and high schools, co-chairing RISD SHAC (School Health and Advisory Council) and is responsible for Off-Campus PA/PE (Physical Activity / Physical Education). She supports PE and Health teachers using the TEKS (Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills) and RISD curriculum. Kellie played basketball at Midwestern State University, where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Biology and Chemistry. She then went on to earn a master’s degree in biology at Texas Woman’s University and has been in RISD for 13 years.

1. What led you to your current role? Why did you choose RISD and what makes you stay?
In my 20-year education career, I’ve been fortunate to work with outstanding communities of learners, including exceptional teachers, wonderful students and amazing parents. Each member along the way provided leadership, knowledge and support as I continued in my professional journey. I was empowered by each of these members to become a better educator.

My family and I love Richardson and I wanted to work in a place with a “growth mindset.” RISD is a school system and community that values the importance of education and the absolute best academic success for all.

2. In an effort to raise a nation of healthy kids, what is RISD PE doing to help prevent childhood obesity? Do you work in conjunction with Child Nutrition to combat this epidemic?
Health and academic achievement are interrelated. The success of RISD students depends on an engaging, interactive and real-world curriculum that will lead students to be not only healthy for their school years, but healthy and active for a lifetime.

The RISD School Health and Advisory Council (SHAC) meets a minimum of four times a year to discuss the health and wellness of RISD students, teachers and community. The SHAC is comprised of people from different areas of the community and from within the school district. The majority of members must be parents who are not employed by the district. SHAC assists the district in ensuring that local community values are reflected in health education instruction, and plays an important role in strengthening the connection between health and learning. They can help parents and community stakeholders reinforce the knowledge and skills children need to stay healthy.

The Health and PE department works in conjunction with the Director of Child Nutrition, Director of Health Services, the Director of Counseling, the Director of Student Services and many more RISD staff members to make sure we are looking at and caring for the whole child.

3. Physical education and Health teachers have the unique challenge of serving all students in a school. What are some physical activities that can be done with all children? How are students with learning differences accommodated?
PE and Health teachers are unique in that they serve all RISD students. Establishing quality health and physical education programs is essential. Well-developed curriculums exist in these programs and must be emulated for all students with varied needs. PE and Health teachers help create habits that teach all kids to be active and healthy throughout their lives. Students need opportunities, time, space, facilities, equipment, permission, and encouragement to be sufficiently physically active. This can happen through active play and other spontaneous activities, as well as taking part in structured and unstructured programs.

Accommodations are met in a variety of ways: through equipment, rules, playing time, playing field, playing cues, physician and staffing recommendations, as well as just communicating with each student. Once the student’s interests and capabilities have been assessed, plans can be developed for the student’s participation in physical activities not only in school, but out of school as well.

4. Kids have many opportunities for sedentary activity. How do you teach kids, as well as parents and teachers, how to balance between technology and exercise/outdoor play?
This is a difficult task, but one that is critically important. One way to address this issue is for the adults – parents and teachers - in the children’s lives to become role models. Teachers must teach and model lessons that encourage appropriate technology use and how that technology can enhance their physical activity, as well as learning to put that technology down and “get active.”

Each of our campuses have activities that are available before, during and after school, to help students remain active. Activities at each campus can vary, but include: RISD RIDES, RISD GO RED DAY, running clubs, basketball, soccer, football, walking clubs, family fitness night, buddy fun day, field day, Jump Rope for Heart and Hoops for Heart.

5. How does PE contribute to the overall curriculum? Can you tell us specific ways PE helps a student during classroom instruction?
Physical education and physical activity MUST be a part of the total education of our children. PE helps students during classroom instruction by improving cognitive abilities, social skills, grades, attendance, personal pride, respect and attention span. As a result, a student spends less time going to the nurse. The purpose of physical education is to instill in students, at an early age, the importance of self-preservation and choosing a lifestyle that is great for both the mind and body.

Learn more about SHAC on