Ironically, one of the best testaments to what the Academy brings students in terms of academics and athletics is probably JoleeTidwell’s daughter, Shelbi. “There is no doubt in my mind,” she says, “that the Academy led Shelbi to where she is.” A multi-sport high school athlete now – having graduated from the Academy in 2014 – Shelbi occupies a spot in the top 10% of her class and led her volleyball team to a State Runner-Up title. Now she is looking at colleges and Coach Tidwell is confident that she’ll be admitted to the school of her choice, the foundation for Shebi’s journey, and success, having been laid here at the Academy.
Jolee Tidwell is our Athletic Director. It seems only natural, as athletics and organized sport have always played a significant role in her life. That role began at age 6, with dance, but Coach Tidwell quickly realized that “it just wasn’t for me,” she says. As her dance career ended, her organized sports career began… with a passion that showed itselfin softball and basketball, and was then added to with volleyball. Her passion carried on into college, where she continued to play volleyball and intramural sports. Today, in addition to teaching middle school PE, she also coaches softball, basketball, and volleyball while continuing to participate in both volleyball and softball through local adult leagues. Coach Tidwell is also the Director of CSAF (Texas Christian Athletic Fellowship), the sports league in which the Academy’s competitive teams participate.
Coach Tidwell came to the Academy because it reminded her of the K-8 school that she attended as a child. “I have such fond memories,” she says, “of the friendly atmosphereI experienced as a child. I was so very excited to find the Academy, a school that was about families and much like the one I had known when I was a student. I really wanted that kind of atmosphere for my daughter.”
“At the Academy, we believe that the best way to engage students in learning is to equip them with the tools of their generation, and that applies to their physical education as well.” To that end, she makes a point of introducing students to modern fitness techniques withtechnology as simple as Wii programs or as complex as the class-wide C’Motion dance unit. She points out that “not many schools can have the dance unit, or a skating unit, or goWii bowling.”
Coach Tidwell enjoys the fact that she can plan unique physical education experiences for her students that excite them about being physically active, and has seen lots of positive comments on the virtual scoreboard installed this year as part of the Academy Class of 2012’slegacy. “It’s yet one more way that the Academy is ahead of so many other schools”. She then smiles and says “of all the positive experiences I have here every day, there’s still nothing more wonderful to me than watching the little bitty kindergartners and first graders skating around and around the gym!”
In addition to adult sports leagues, both playing and officiating, Coach Tidwell also fills her spare time with family time… with her husband, mother, nieces, nephews and more. She especially enjoys supporting in Shelbiin her interests, athletic and otherwise. The best free-time treat ever? A family trip to Colorado to do some snow skiing.