Meet Dr. Kayla Peak
Dr. Kayla Peak, assistant professor of kinesiology and director of the kinesiology graduate program, also serves as a faculty fellow in the Center for Instructional Innovation at Tarleton. Peak has redesigned her courses so that each has an applied learning component which challenges students to become active, engaged participants in their learning experience.
Dr. Peak received the Texas A&M University System Excellence in Teaching award in 2009, 2010 and 2011 and has also been awarded Tarleton’s Jack and Louise Arthur Award in 2011, which recognizes excellence in the classroom. Most recently she was honored as the 2012 University Physical Educator of the Year by the Texas Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (TAHPERD), a state organization promoting excellence in teaching in those four areas.
Known for two very special events on campus - Fantastic Field Day and Rock the Gym which are designed specifically for area public school students with physical and cognitive disabilities – Dr. Peak takes a moment to answer questions about her passion for teaching and for Tarleton..
What motivates you to teach?
My motivation comes from witnessing the ‘aha’ moments as students gain insight and inspiration about the course material and are able to actively apply this newfound wisdom to their lives! I am constantly experimenting with innovative methods for providing instruction which will meaningfully engage the students in the academic material. I want my students to develop a passion for learning so that they can become solid professionals in the Kinesiology industry.
What have been your most memorable moments while teaching at Tarleton State University?
Honestly, it is all about the daily interaction with the students. I enjoy helping the students prepare for their future and am thrilled beyond measure when former students call to let me know about their successes. It’s a great day when I can celebrate the achievement of our students. By the way, I am fortunate to have many great days!!!
Who inspires you and why?
I am inspired by all those I come in contact with on a daily basis. Witnessing ordinary people embrace their days with extraordinary purpose and passion inspires me to be a little kinder, try a harder, and stay focused on my journey in life.
Name and explain one thing that most people would be surprised to know about you?
I have spent the last few months researching Peak Bagging which is an attempt to summit the highest mountain peaks. By 2015, I hope to have hiked to the summit of the highest mountain in each of the 50 states. I have mapped out five peaks to bag during Spring Break!
What is your favorite Tarleton tradition and why?
Our university is steeped in rich tradition which creates a sense of loyalty and pride in all those who embrace the Tarleton spirit. My favorite Tarleton tradition is the Purple Poo. Unlike other traditions, the Poo are distinctive and unique to our campus. Outsiders may stare in wonderment when they witness the crazy spirit antics of the Poo while those in the Tarleton family smile and nod in understanding.
Dr Peak received both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in physical education from Tarleton and completed her doctoral degree in physical education and recreation at A&M-Commerce in 1995. She promises to keep us posted and share photos of her Peak Bagging experiences through Tarleton Focus on the university’s home page.