Health Education

Andover Health Teacher Named Health Educator of the Year

“Cheryl Todisco Earns Top Honors from MAHPERD”

For Immediate Release – April 1, 2016 - Andover, MA -- Andover Public Schools (APS) is excited to announce that the Massachusetts Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (MAHPERD) has selected Cheryl Todisco as Health Educator of the Year.

“Congratulations to Cheryl on this well-deserved recognition for the exceptional work that she has done over the years to develop and grow our elementary and middle school Health Education programs,” said Superintendent Sheldon Berman. “Cheryl is an innovative, high-energy educator as well as a skilled curriculum writer and respected community health advocate.”

Ms. Todisco has been instrumental in providing innovative Health Education programs throughout the district and in the community that empower Andover’s youth. Some of her many accomplishments include, developing the Drug Drop-Off Box initiative at the Andover Safety Center, a collaboration with CVS in Andover to discontinue tobacco sales, and a collaboration with the APS Food Services Department, allowing students to learn about and sample new foods, as well as participation on the Bullying Prevention Task Force.

“As a community, we have an immense responsibility to help young people learn about their social, emotional and physical health,” said Ms. Todisco. “A comprehensive Health Education program helps students learn skills they will use to make healthy informed choices throughout their lifetime.”

Ms. Todisco’s philosophy on Health Education is to provide her students with a curriculum that is rich, relevant and meaningful with hands-on activities that integrate art, music and movement alongside English, social and life science. This interdisciplinary approach appeals to multiple learning styles and motivates students to participate and succeed. The curriculum builds links between content and personal experiences, emotions and contemporary issues, while challenging students to work collaboratively with peers. She also stresses the importance of collaboration with families to help cultivate healthy communication, protective factors and problem solving skills that will guide and support students as they move through high school and beyond.

“Cheryl is a champion of health, wellness and positive decision-making,” said Brian McNally, APS Health Education Director. “She is a pro-active team player who always sees the glass as half-full and embraces challenges with fervor.”

Ms. Todisco’s favorite part of the job is her relationships with her students, noting that middle school students are vibrant, curious learners brimming with creative energy and intellectual enthusiasm. She enjoys having the unique opportunity to journey along side of her students as they find their voices.

“It's a privilege to work with motivated students, engaged families, highly-skilled colleagues and dedicated administrators during this critical time to create a positive experience for Andover's young people,” she said. “So I guess what really motivates me is simple, it's the opportunity to make a difference. I really love my job so much and come to school everyday with a skip in my step.”

In addition to Health Education, Ms. Todisco also runs the Doherty Middle School’s musical theater program. Under her direction, the theater program has grown to include over 100 students and will be storming the stage with the musical production of Footloose on April 8, 9 and 10.
Ms. Todisco earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Economics with a minor in Community Health from Tufts University. She went on to Harvard’s School of Public Health, earning a Master’s Degree in Health and Social Behavior. Ms. Todisco has taught Health Education in Andover since 1999.

Ms. Todisco resides in Andover with her husband, Mike. She has two grown children.

She will receive her award at the annual MAHPERD awards breakfast in April.