Health and Physical Education

Especially popular with students who wish to teach and coach at the elementary, middle or high school level, health and physical education ensures your eligibility for Virginia's licensure in teaching Pre-K thru 12th grade health and physical education.

By studying health and physical education, you'll build an understanding of the physiological, mechanical, psycho-social and developmentally appropriate principles of teaching, and you will develop the communication and evaluation skills needed to teach at the primary and secondary levels.

Through site-based observation and teaching practicums and student teaching, you acquire the tools necessary to become an effective educator. You'll also have opportunities to conduct research and participate in on- and off-campus service learning.

We offer a major in health and physical education.

Our students go on to promising careers.

Logos of: Roanoke City Public Schools, Carilion Clinic, RMH Healthcare

Volleyball team huddles around coach

Learning in the field, winning on the court

Torri Render ‘08 is a physical education teacher for fourth and fifth graders at Asheville Christian Academy, and also coaches the high school volleyball team. The team has won three North Carolina Independent School Athletic Association 3A state titles during her time at the helm.

Render, a health and human performance major who also played on the Maroons volleyball and basketball teams, says her learning experiences outside the classroom gave her the tools she’s using today.

“One of the best learning experiences during college was getting into the field to shadow current teachers with internships and student teaching,” Render said. “Some of the teaching techniques I use are from those teachers I shadowed so long ago.”

Professor Michael Maina

Dr. Michael Maina working with students in the fitness center

Dr. Michael Maina teaches future physical education teachers at Roanoke College. He may lecture on healthy eating habits one day and participate alongside students the next day, modeling examples of ways that they can interact with their own classes when they become teachers.

Maina came to the college after years as an elementary school physical education teacher and as a professor at North Carolina's Methodist College and Valdosta State University in Georgia. Maina, also a certified strength and conditioning specialist, believes in the power of physical fitness.

Health and Physical Education (HPE) majors understand that knowledge and application are the best weapons in the prevention of childhood obesity and can provide individuals with a lifetime of health and wellness. 

Teaching by example

Kailey Sitzberger ‘16 is a health and physical education teacher at James Madison Middle School in Roanoke, where she coaches basketball and soccer. She is also the youth sports coordinator at the Kirk Family YMCA in downtown Roanoke.

“I enjoy working with children of all ages helping them discover and expand a love for movement, sports and teamwork,” Sitzberger said.

That journey began at Roanoke College, where Sitzberger majored in health and physical education and got a huge amount of experience in the field. She started working at the YMCA as a student, and she got to teach in local schools every semester to help prepare her for real-world teaching. She gave credit to Dr. Julie Schlegel and Dr. Michael Maina for instilling strong values in their students.

“They taught by example in their classrooms, showing us how to be kind, respectful teachers who know how to adapt on the fly, accommodate all students by meeting them where they are, and instill confidence so students can become independently successful in all they do,” Sitzberger said. “I strive to teach the same way they taught me every day.”


Roanoke College professor, students lobby Capitol Hill legislators for health, physical education support

Five students and Dr. Michael Maina visited Washington D.C., as part of SHAPE America's SPEAK Out Day events.

Dr. Michael Maina and two students recognized with awards

Dr. Michael P. Maina won the Virginia College/University Physical Educator of the year award. Mary Kelly won Outstanding Woman Student Athlete and Jacob Brabham won Outstanding Physical Education major of the year. 

Dr. Michael Maina, Jack Brabham, Damon Daniels, Ray Dougherty, Candice Fisher and Kailey Sitzberger in Washington, D.C. with Senator Mark Warner

Roanoke team lobbies Capitol Hill legislators for health and physical education support

Roanoke College professor Dr. Michael Maina and five Roanoke students visited Washington, D.C., to advocate for legislation to support health and physical education in schools and restore federal funding for vulnerable programs. Roanoke students, Jake Brabham, Damon Daniels, Ray Dougherty, Candice Fisher and Kailey Sitzberger, all health and physical education majors, met face-to-face with lawmakers to help ensure that health and physical education are included in the federal education law which is up for reauthorization in Congress.

"It's teaching our students how to be advocates for our profession," Maina said. "They're going to be the future."