Charlie Newton

Charlie Newton, a physical education teacher at Kalama Elementary School (KES), was recently named the 2021 School Employee of the Year by the Kalama Chamber of Commerce.  

Newton, who joined the KES team prior to the start of last school year, was recognized for going above and beyond his duties as a teacher, and for inspiring his students to lead healthy lives.

“Besides providing a dynamic P.E. program for our students, every morning during the school year, Charlie would gather about 400 children for a morning roundup, and he would play music and exercise videos to help them get moving and be ready for the day – this wasn’t even part of his teaching assignment,” said Scott Fenter, last year’s interim principal at KES. “He is an amazingly positive role model for children in healthy living.”

Newton also organized a “Bubble Run” event in May that raised nearly $10,000 in donations for P.E. and recess equipment. 

“I’m feeling very honored and grateful to be recognized for my hard work,” said Newton. “I’m so thankful for this community’s support this year, which gives me hope for years to come.”

As the 2022-2023 school year approaches, Newton said he’s looking forward to revamping the P.E. and recess program to provide more opportunities for all students, including preschoolers, to be more active and engaged.

“With new state physical education requirements, students will have P.E. more often,” he explained. “This means they will get to spend time improving their skills and gaining knowledge, rather than just exposure.”

Newton has nine years of experience as a teacher. He earned his Undergraduate Degree from Western Oregon University and Master’s Degree (and minor in Adapted P.E.) from Oregon State University. 

Previous Kalama Chamber of Commerce School Employees of the Year include:

  • Dennis Watts (2020)
  • Tammy Smith (2018)
  • Chris Stone (2017)
  • Lori Byrnes (2016) 
  • Brynan Shipley (2015)
  • Jeff Johnson (2014)
  • Kathy Schmitt (2013)
  • Jane Delker (2012)
  • Debbie Merz (2011)
  • Victoria Wells (2010)
  • Carrie Lindsay (2009)
  • Laura Hiatt (2008)
  • Nate Salisbury (2007)
  • Tom Eastwood (2006)

The Chamber did not give out a 2019 School Employee of the Year award due to the pandemic.