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Lifelong Learning

Horizon East health teacher named Moorhead Teacher of the Year

January 24, 2019

Brian Meyer is proud to come from a family of educators.

“My parents, brother and sister have all been in an educational setting in one form or another,” Meyer said. “It really felt natural going into education as a career.”

Meyer, a health education teacher at Horizon Middle School East Campus for nine years, has been named the 2019 Moorhead Teacher of the Year.

A teacher for Moorhead Area Public Schools for 25 years, Meyer previously taught physical education at Robert Asp, Edison Elementary and Moorhead High and health and technology at Moorhead Junior High. Meyer earned his bachelor’s degree from Southwest Minnesota State University and his master’s degree in education from North Dakota State University.

“I was fortunate to get a job as a physical education at Robert Asp, then a school for grades 5-6,” Meyer said.

One of the first things he did was to give the kickballs away to the teachers for their playground supply bins — moving away from a model of just having the students play a game like kickball to using curriculum. According to Meyer, he found, wrote and modified curriculum and made the department accountable.

“My passion continues to this day,” Meyer said.

Rather than using formal textbooks, his Horizon East students now have seven packets to use during their nine weeks in the healthy lifestyles class. The packets include viable up-to-date curriculum that is interesting, educational and necessary, Meyer said.

“I will bring in guest speakers ranging from law enforcement officers to recovering addicts for students to learn and see firsthand the lessons I am trying to instill,” he said.

Meyer takes pride in making sure the topics in his classroom are about the stressors and pressures students face now or will be facing in the near future.

“We practice and implement coping skills and refusal skills — healthy ways students can stay drug free and make healthier choices,” Meyer said. “I work hard on trying to make my class pertain to all students. Not until they feel that rapport and connection to my class, can education truly take place.”

Since 2017, Meyer has been a mentor for Check and Connect, where mentors check in with students and provide supports to increase student engagement at school and with learning.

According to Dr. Jeremy Larson, principal at Horizon East, Meyer understands the importance of the social and emotional component for students and strives to ensure that all students have an adult advocate.

“He not only has become an advocate for his students through the Check and Connect program, but he also helps me to create an atmosphere and culture where all students feel valued,” Larson said. “As principal, I look to him to give me a pulse on what is happening in the classroom and appreciate getting his feedback on what I can do to improve our school environment.”

Besides teaching, Meyer has coached boys and girls basketball, boys tennis, boys and girls cross country, and football. He has been an after-school gym instructor and an AVID teacher, and he announces at Horizon East and Moorhead High athletic events.

The Education Moorhead Communications Committee, which selected Meyer as the 2019 Moorhead Teacher of the Year, was impressed with the many titles he wears: health education teacher, coach, “the voice of Horizon Middle School East,” “the voice of Moorhead football,” and mentor with Check and Connect program.

“Mr. Meyer is a dedicated and passionate teacher who truly cares about students in the Moorhead School District and truly makes a difference in his many roles,” the committee said in a statement.

“I truly love my job and look forward to it every day,” Meyer said. “I am surrounded by great educators and even better friends.”

Photo: Brian Meyer, Horizon Middle School East Campus health education teacher and the 2019 Moorhead Teacher of the Year, reviews classifications of drugs and alcohol with students during a team trivia review game.

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