homepage logo

Lee educator earns ’08 Florida Health Teacher of the Year; Employed at Gulf Middle

By Staff | Sep 26, 2008

Leisha Roy, a Gulf Middle School teacher awarded the 2008 Florida Health Teacher of the Year, will leave Wednesday to attend a recognition ceremony in Orlando sponsored by the Florida Alliance of Health, Physical Education, Recreation, Dance and Sport.

Roy was acknowledged Tuesday night by the Lee County School Board for her dedication to health education in the school district.

She started working for the district 16 years ago, and said the district is ahead of its time on providing students with health education.

“When I first started, health wasn’t a state requirement, but our district did offer it,” said Roy. “It’s something we are pushing for the district to support, so it is critically important for us to promote health.”

She said the school district has a great health and physical education program, and is progressive in seeking to promote health education.

In her class, Roy teaches about all topics in health including drugs, reproduction, puberty, mental health, nutrition and general safety. She explained that there is a lot of material to cover.

“Some of these kids have never had health before, and the class is only one semester,” she said.

Another important topic is sexually transmitted diseases, which is covered in the Lee County School District, although the district follows abstinence-based guidelines and has each student sign permission slips.

With the current spike in STD rates, especially in teenagers, Roy explained that this type of education is more important than ever.

“I remember, toward the end of the last school year, an article on the obnoxiously high STD rates in 14-year-olds,” Roy said. “Everybody is amazed about these numbers, but many don’t have a health requirement.”

Besides showing students a video of a live birth and graphic pictures of diseases, she started using a teen pregnancy prevention program called “Baby Think It Over,” which gives students live mannequins that resemble babies.

Roy received a grant from the Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce and used school-based funds to acquire the Real Care II Plus infant simulator, a top-of-the-line device that has needs similar to a live infant.

“Unlike the eggs and sacks of flour that were used in the past, this simulator requires that students determine the type of care required by the infant, monitors improper head support and rough handling, and whether the student responds appropriately,” she said.

Many students, she added, come to her by the end of the infant simulation looking exhausted and ask her to take it away.

Roy received a bachelor’s of science in health science education from the University of Florida in 1993. Before attending college, she was a graduate of Cypress Lake High School in Fort Myers.

In the Lee School District, Roy has assisted with developing a health curriculum and health-related tests, and she participated in a program to stop middle school students from smoking.