Paul Chappell, in his Seattle Seahawks jersey. photo courtesy of Symetra

Paul Chappell, in his Seattle Seahawks jersey. photo courtesy of Symetra


Paul Chappell, a physical education teacher at Leschi Elementary School, was honored as a “Symetra Hero in the Classroom” on Dec. 3 during a school assembly.

As a “Hero in the Classroom,” Chappell received a $1,000 donation for classroom books and supplies. He also received tickets to the Dec. 9 Seattle Seahawks game against the Arizona Cardinals, at which he was acknowledged during an on-field presentation at CenturyLink Field.

Heidi Trudel, a second- and third-grade teacher at the school, nominated Chappell for the award.

“Mr. Chappell is the ultimate unsung hero. He has worked at Leschi Elementary through multiple generations, and he continues to make a profound difference in the lives of his students, their children and even their grandchildren,” she said. “Teaching gym to our 350 students, he is an advocate for health and fitness training. He stresses fitness as a lifestyle commitment, not a class. He walks to school with students, teaches new games on the playground and is always lending out equipment to students to continue their fitness at home.

“Mr. Chappell’s influence goes way beyond the school day — his commitment to kids’ fitness extends into evenings and weekends as a track coach and even a flag football coach in the fall,” Trudel continued. “What also sets Mr. Chappell apart is his focus on other life skills in the classroom: You’ll frequently find him working with students on improving their problem-solving skills. He also is always aware of how students are doing at home. 

“In the winter months, Mr. Chappell heads up a Thanksgiving food drive, which he started as a way to ensure students in need have enough to eat over the holidays,” she added. “He is our ‘Energizer bunny’ — he does not quit!”

Chappell is one of 24 K-12 teachers across the Puget Sound area who will be honored for educational excellence in the Symetra Heroes in the Classroom program during the 2012 NFL season. Principals, district staff, students and students’ parents may nominate teachers for the award. The winners are selected based on their ability to go above and beyond in their day-to-day responsibilities and to help students build life skills.

Julie Parker, a fourth- and fifth-grade teacher at McGilvra Elementary School in Madison Park, received the award in September.