Weston Moody was nominated by his colleague, Brian McIntosh.
Mr. Moody is a servant leader who is always looking to develop young people. His students and players know he has a vested interest in their success. Mr. Moody has been in the district for two years, and he makes an impact on students on a daily basis. He is consistent, energetic, forward-thinking, and resilient in his teaching and coaching. He goes above and beyond what is required of him because he cares so much for students. Mr. Moody has helped create a positive culture in the Health & Performance program. He has also transformed the football program into a state contender. He builds relationships quickly because he invests his time, energy, and talents into the lives of students and players.
Mr. Moody has helped build the Health & Performance program into one of the most recognizable in the state of Kansas. He has helped add a Zero Hour class where over 50 students participate, including youth. On any given day, you may see third grade students working out with seniors. He believes in investing in the root. He understands the positive impact exercise and nutrition has on the social-emotional development of kids.
Mr. Moody is a passionate football coach, as well. He has built the program from the ground up. He not only coaches the high school team, but invests much of his time into the youth football program, as well. Mr. Moody educates the coaches on safety, proper technique, character, and work ethic. His high school program prepares young men for life after high school. He gives his athletes the tools to be successful, character-driven young men.
Mr. Moody leads by example. He understands that if he isn’t excited and energized about what he is teaching, then he can’t expect his students to be excited. As a teacher and coach, he is always thinking about students’ long term goals and their life after high school and athletics. He wants to provide opportunities for students to apply what they are learning in the classroom and on the field to their everyday lives. He makes a point to connect why students and athletes are doing what they are doing to real-world examples. For example, he often talks about communication and how vital it is to everything. People only know what they know. He stresses this and shows this by incorporating new lifts and exercises into the workouts. If he didn’t demonstrate and clearly articulate each lift or exercise, no one would know what to do or might interpret it differently, which could result in injury. He is able to break down complex information in ways students comprehend to ensure students understand why they have to communicate and advocate for themselves.
Mr. Moody gets to know students on a personal level. He wants to know what their hopes and plans are after high school to make sure he is providing them with opportunities to gain transferrable skills that will serve them well in whatever their next step is. He also wants to ensure students are connected to resources that can help them succeed. For instance, he has a football player who is not a strong test taker and who gets extremely anxious about the ACT. Wamego, KS is very close to Manhattan, KS, where Kansas State University (K-State) is located. Mr. Moody researched what options there might be in regards to tutoring for the ACT. As a result of his research, he discovered that K-State offers ACT Workshops several times throughout the year. He gave this information to the student-athlete and helped him understand the process of applying to different colleges by explaining what his options were to further his education while continuing to play. This is only one example of many instances where Mr. Moody connects students to different resources.
Mr. Moody believes everyone should be in the weight room and learning about the importance of physical activity and nutrition, regardless of their age, size, or capabilities. Due to the class schedule, some students are unable to take a weight class. Once Mr. Moody learned of this, he worked with fellow teachers to develop a plan and presented it to the Board of Education and administrators. He provided evidence and demonstrated the value of teaching young people about weight training that can make them stronger, improve their flexibility, and ensure holistic wellness. As a result of his plan and ability to work with others, the school implemented a zero hour from 7:00 – 7:40 a.m. every day school is in session (with the exception of Wednesdays, when the school day has a late start). Zero hour started with relatively low numbers, but has grown and often has more than 45 students attending. Mr. Moody works hard to meet students where they are and reduce barriers to ensure students can participate.
Mr. Moody is also involved in youth programs. When he learned the Junior Raider football team was playing for the championship in their age division, he drove over an hour to speak to the young players before the game and stayed to cheer them on to victory. He includes younger students in the zero hour class and often walks a handful of younger students over to the elementary school. He also involves younger students by having them run out on the field with the football team, and he has his athletes talk to the younger players about what they are learning on and off the field.
Mr. Moody will give students rides to practices and will take students home if transportation is a challenge. He tries his best to accommodate work schedules when possible, as well. He also works to understand why a student may be acting out, not showing up, or not participating. While he provides discipline and is strict, he also realizes life happens, and he makes sure students know he is someone they can come to.
Mr. Moody and his family are currently hosting an exchange student from Brasila, Brazil. He works hard to provide opportunities, not only for his students and student-athletes, but for students around the world. He sees hosting a student for a year as an opportunity for students in Wamego to learn about different cultures and different parts of the world.
Mr. Moody believes every person has a role to play and is essential to making sure everything works the way it is supposed to work. He leads by example and will not ask anyone to do something he isn’t willing to do. He encourages his students pick up after themselves and leave places better than how they found them. Mr. Moody also makes sure students understand how vital every person and their role is. He has worked to ensure the custodial staff are acknowledged and recognized for their hard work and sacrifices to keep the facilities clean and well-maintained. He gets to know the staff on a personal basis. Mr. Moody gives them t-shirts and brings them coffee to show his appreciation for their work and the role they play.
Mr. Moody also encourages his student-athletes show up and support other activities. When the band and choir have a concert, he encourages his student-athletes to show up and support their peers, as the band plays every home football game and supports the team. Whether there is a volleyball match/tournament, play, or basketball game, his student-athletes are there cheering on and supporting their peers. Showing up and being present are the best ways to create a culture of school spirit and pride and acknowledging the unique gifts and talents of all of the students at Wamego High School. By doing this, he is also instilling an important life lesson; show up and be present.
One doesn’t have to look hard to find negative things said about young people. Mr. Moody is changing this narrative and showing students the importance of getting involved and making things better. During his first summer in Wamego, he enlisted the help of his football players to help put up a traveling Vietnam War display with the names of everyone who lost their lives. Student-athletes have helped with the annual fireworks show by prepping the fireworks and picking up trash. They have helped people move, helped with the Back to School bash, the annual Wicked half-marathon and 5k, and have been involved in other service opportunities. This is an example of instilling a culture where people give back and look for ways to make their school and community better.
Mr. Moody wanted to demonstrate what it means to be a team player and the importance of team, while also providing a lesson on sacrifice. Before the start of the football season, he took all of his football players to Mount Mitchell, which is approximately 10 miles south of Wamego, KS. Most of the student- athletes were unaware of the significance of Mount Mitchell. It's a sacred hill for American Indians where their ancestors are buried. It's a place to honor an abolitionist who helped make Kansas a state free from slavery, and it contains ruts and swales from an old trail that was used by the westernmost route of the Underground Railroad. Mr. Moody mixed up his student athletes and had them take turns carrying each other up the hill. He used the examples of what Mount Mitchell means and carrying each other up the hill to illustrate what it means to be part of something bigger than yourself.
Mr. Moody has conducted research to better understand a number of the policies and procedures in place and how they affect students’ ability to succeed in and out of the classroom. He has asked powerful questions and provided different perspectives to help people think about policies and procedures differently and to ensure they are student-centered and student-focused.
Mr. Moody understands he is always representing Wamego High School in any and every setting. Whether he is at a conference, in the community, or traveling, he is always wearing Wamego gear. He has created a brand for Wamego, the students, and the student-athletes.
Mr. Moody is very adaptable and is able to fill many roles in a school setting. His teaching degree is in Spanish, and he has a Master's degree in English as a Second Language (ESOL). In addition, he has certifications to teach Psychology, History, Physical Education/Health, and Weight training, as well as work as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS).
Mr. Moody is always reading, researching, and exploring opportunities to better himself as a teacher and coach. He looks for conferences and new material that will help him be a better teacher and help engage students in different ways. As a weight training teacher, he not only wants to help students reach their athletic and fitness goals, but he wants students to understand nutrition and know what they are putting in their body. He is committed to instilling a lifetime commitment to physical wellness in his students.
Mr. Moody is always listening to podcasts, watching film, and/or DVDs to learn more. He has established a network of teachers and coaches who he can brainstorm with and bounce ideas off of to ensure he gets multiple perspectives and has a clear path of how to implement something new.
Mr. Moody is a life-long learner. He wants to ensure his students are life-long learners, as well. This is evident in how hard he works and how he continues to push himself, his students, and his student-athletes to be the best they can be. He leads by example and shows not only his students and student-athletes, but his own children that anything worth having is a result of hard work, discipline, determination, and persistence. He is teaching young people lessons for the rest of their life and demonstrates this by connecting what they are learning and experiencing in his classroom to real-world examples.
Mr. Moody has high expectations for not only himself, but for his students and student-athletes. He is a firm believer that people are the product of their expectations. He helps students understand the importance of a growth mindset and reminds students they have this mindset. In a world that thrives on instant gratification, he continues to show the importance of becoming and learning. He does this through his words, his actions, and most importantly, through leading by example.
"Weston has devoted his life to being the best teacher and coach he can be. He always ensures he is following policies and procedures and ensures his students and student athletes understand the policies and procedures and adhere to them," said McIntosh. "I recently listened to a podcast, and a statement really resonated with me and applies to Weston. 'Character is how you treat people who can do nothing for you.' This speaks to Weston’s character and the culture he is building."