On November 17, the College of Health and Human Services will host the 2022 Health and Human Services Hero Awards to recognize individuals who are making a bold difference right here in the Central Valley. We will highlight the ten honorees in our Heroes Blog Series.

hero22_cnegrete_smName: Connie Negrete

Occupation: Athletics Administrator and Physical Education teacher at John Wash Elementary and Lone Star Elementary

Nominated By: Central California Children’s Institute

Growing up in Canada, Connie Negrete played an array of sports – soccer, volleyball, track and basketball. Her coaches and P.E. teachers in high school played such a vital role in her personal development that her career path seemed obvious – she wanted to become a P.E. teacher so she could positively impact others in the same way.

Negrete came to Fresno State in 1995 on a basketball scholarship, and majored in kinesiology, with an option in physical education. While she had originally planned to teach at the high school level, she received an offer to teach at the elementary level in Sanger Unified School District upon graduation. It is a choice she has never regretted.

Negrete has taught at John Wash Elementary for the past 23 years and Lone Star Elementary for the past 16, acting as both P.E. teacher and athletics director. In her administrative role, she works with coaches to make sure playing fields, facilities, and uniform needs are met. As a teacher, she’s on the field and blacktop instilling in students the joy of physical activity.

Over her two decades as a P.E. teacher, Negrete has created and honed countless lessons and activities that have served her and her students well. However, the unique circumstances of the COVID pandemic gave Negrete an opportunity to flex her creativity in new ways. In turn, she helped create an online “workout room” for students to attend for a personal exercise experience that was so engaging that students not even in her class petitioned to join in rather than just watch exercise videos online. 

“It’s so important to teach kids at young ages the importance of living a healthy, active lifestyle and that exercise and skill work can be fun,” Negrete said. 

Negrete’s connection to Fresno State remains strong through her passion for supporting the women’s basketball team. She regularly attends games and invites women’s basketball players to her elementary schools to meet students and encourage healthy habits and staying active. 

Negrete also works to mentor the next generation of physical education teachers and is well-known among her peers as an outstanding mentor for student-teachers who are pursuing their teaching credential and for undergraduate interns pursuing physical education.  

“I am very proud to say that all my student-teachers have successfully found employment teaching physical education in various school districts,” Negrete said. “I am still in contact with many of them and enjoy being a resource for them, whether it be lesson plans or advice.”

The 2022 Health and Human Services Hero Awards, which celebrates heroes from each of the seven departments, as well as centers and institutes within our college, will be held virtually this year. For more information on the event, contact Beth Wilkinson at bwilkinson@csufresno.edu.