2023 MAHPERD Award Recipients

Below are the 2023 MAHPERD Award recients.

The 29th Annual MAHPERD Honors/Awards Banquet will be on Sunday, April 30, 2023 at the DoubleTree Hotel, Milford, MA.

Advance Reservations only. The Awards Banquet will be at 10:00 a.m, brunch will be served.

For more information and to purchase tickets click here.


Joseph McKenney Award - Donna Ruseckas

Donna Ruseckas served in multiple capacities and has positively impacted students, teachers, and our profession across her career. After starting as a K-12 physical educator and coach, Donna later led as a collegiate athletics administrator before returning to K-12 as a Curriculum Coordinator, Director of Wellness, and Program Coordinator in Watertown and Andover Public Schools. Impressively, Donna oversaw two PEP grants, bringing enhanced programming and partnerships to the Watertown community. Within MAHPERD, Donna served admirably as a President as well as Co-Chair of CTAHPE. Nominators spoke about Donna as a "consummate professional" who has "particular expertise in supporting underrepresented student populations to ensure equity."


Health Teacher of the Year - Michelle Ireland

Michelle Ireland has taught health education at Hanover Middle School since 2003. Within the school, Michelle engages her students, colleagues, and community members in health promotion-based initiatives and events. Beyond the district, Michelle has been highly active in advocacy efforts, including serving on the task force charged with revising the national Health Education standards and speaking with US Senators and Representatives for SHAPE America Speak Out! Day and the SOPHE advocacy summit. Michelle presents regularly at the state and national level, and has published on innovative teaching techniques in different venues. Michelle's colleagues and supervisors describe her teaching as "passionate" and "exemplary."



High School PE Teacher of the Year
Timothy Walsh

Tim Walsh has been a physical educator for 28 years, with the last 22 years as a Wellness Teacher for the Needham High School. He has served on various committees for the Needham Schools including wellness department faculty council representative, social emotional learning committee, new teacher training orientation activity facilitator and new teacher mentor as well as leading mindfulness professional development workshops with staff members. Tim has served on the MAHPERD Board and has presented at MAHPERD Conventions.

A few remarks from Tim’s colleagues: “He goes beyond teaching students the traditional motor skills and movement concepts that will lead to a healthy active lifestyle by taking the time to help students value their own individual gifts and talents and appreciate the importance of putting their health and wellbeing first.”

“He is a social worker’s dream in regard to his embodiment of social emotional learning and the connection between a students’ mental health challenges and their physicality, engagement, confidence and motivation.”


Outstanding Future Professionals


Leeten Adolt - Springfield College

Leeten Adolt is a senior at Springfield College perusing a degree in physical education and a minor in health. Leeton has been involved with Springfield College’s PEHE majors club which includes raising funds for students to attend MAHPERD and SHAPE conventions. She was also the BLAST program site leader which is an after school program which is run through Springfield college but is held at a local elementary school. Outside of classes Leeten has been involved with MAHPERD and the Springfield College PHE Offices as well as youth sport coaching and community service.


Rachel Vinton - Springfield College

Rachel Vinton is a senior at Springfield College majoring in physical education. In addition to her class work Rachel has been on the Woman’s basketball team for all four years and is currently the team captain. She volunteers for on and off campus activities including MAHPERD Conferences, the PE Mentor Club, the student athlete leadership team, and the PHE club. Her leadership, commitment to service and her communication skills have earned respect from her peers, faculty, and coaches.


Hannah Magee - Salem State University

Hannah Magee is a senior at Salem State University. Hannah will graduate with a Bachelor Science Degree in May and then continue into her master’s year in the fall of 2023. Hannah excels in the classroom and on the athletic field as she’s a two-sport, soccer and softball four-year athlete. She’s earned dean’s list recognition for 6 semesters. Hannah is a proud member of the Salem State Sports and Movement Science Honor Society and the Salem State Psychology Honor Society. As one of her professor’s states” Hannah embodies the skills, the intelligence, the positive attitude, and the personal determination that defines a great future professional.”


Alexa Richter - Westfield State University

Alexa Richter is a sophomore majoring in physical education at Westfield State University. Alexa is an exemplary student and athlete. She has been on the dean’s list for all 3 semesters at Westfield. As a member of the woman’s varsity swim team, she has won three conference titles and has set a new school record in the 100-freestyle event. Alexa is on MAHPERD’s Council of Future Professionals and has volunteered at the MAHPERD convention. She has contributed in the community by being involved in a variety of capacities at the local YMCA in Westfield.


Junichi Ash - Westfield State University

Junichi Ash is in his first year as a post baccalaureate student in Physical Education at Westfield State University. He has a degree in Exercise Science from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. He has volunteered at the MAHPERD 2022 Fall Convention is currently the treasurer of the Westfield State University Physical Education Club. Junichi also volunteers to teach CPR and First Aid classes to students on campus. As quoted by one of his professors “Junichi Ash is one of those individuals that comes around once in a generation. It has been my good fortune to have had an opportunity to work with him.