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College of Education

Adapted Physical Education alum named Teacher of the Year in New Jersey

Bayley Hickey shares a love of teaching and assisting students in achieving success.

Bayley Hickey went to college with dreams of working as a coach but learned a love of teaching and pushing students towards success that changed his trajectory. When he started his career in physical education, he had a difficult time working with students with disabilities. He sought assistance from an interdisciplinary team of teachers and related service members that worked with students in his school.

“They really took me under their wing,” says Hickey. “They supported me and taught me everything I needed to know to prepare me for teaching students in various disability populations. I experienced a moment with a student where I was finally able to teach a student to independently kick a ball after months of work. Seeing students do things they have never done before, made me realize this was where I wanted to go with my career.”

Hickey began researching graduate schools. He was interested in a program for adapted physical education that was delivered virtually. He was especially interested in supplemental instruction for students in disability populations.

“What really stood out to me was that this program was asynchronous,” says Hickey. “Being able to work at my own pace was pivotal to my success. It really worked for me and my schedule.”

Hickey says his favorite part of the program was the connections he was able to make throughout his field.

“Even though the program was asynchronous, I was able to build significant connections,” Hickey says. “Professors Brian, Miedema and Grenier are big names in our field. I was excited to work with them and get support when I needed it. Although they are significant players in the field, they remained accessible throughout my experience to support my growth.”

Hickey shares that the program helped him learn student interventions and build his confidence as an educator.

“Prior to the program I was a little more timid and apprehensive of my capabilities,” Hickey says. “After graduating and receiving my CAPE (Certified Adapted Physical Educator) accreditation, I really feel that I am at the top of my field. I’ve made the transition to assisting others and advocating for the profession.”

Hickey says that he’s always had a goal of becoming a ‘teacher of the year’ one day.

“It was always something I wanted to pursue in my career, but I didn’t know it was within reach,” shares Hickey. “Winning ‘Teacher of the Year’ is significant, and I feel like it’s an amazing opportunity to help others in my profession.”

Hickey also shares that he is the president of the New Jersey Adapted Physical Education Consortium (NJAPEC). This organization was developed to support physical educators in teaching students with disabilities. He’s proud to do what he can to broaden the understanding of the field. He urges any teacher that serves students with disabilities to reach out to state and national organizations for support.

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