PE teacher a hall of famer

A Newton-Conover City Schools coach and teacher was inducted into the system's hall of fame Monday night, honoring the man's commitment to students and physical education.

Tim Elrod, 55, was one of three people chosen to be part of the Newton-Conover Hall of Fame, an honor designed to recognize excellence in and commitment to athletics. This is Elrod's 31st year as Shuford Elementary School's physical education teacher, and he coached track and field for 27 years at Newton-Conover High School.

"That's the only thing I've ever wanted to do," Elrod said. "I've been so blessed here."

Elrod received word of his acceptance into the hall of fame Feb. 15 — his birthday. Former NCHS athlete Christi Cranford and longtime coach John L. Tate were also inducted Monday into the hall of fame.

"It's to recognize recipients' accomplishments and what they've done for students," said Newton-Conover athletic director Ericia Turner.

A committee made of former Newton-Conover students helps sift through hall of fame applications and selects the winners. The hall fame is in its second year, and the total number of inductees into the exclusive club is now at six.

"I just feel truly honored," Elrod said of his induction.

Majority of Elrod's career was spent in NCCS, where he served as teacher, coach, tutor and encourager. Elrod was the NCCS teacher of the year in 1982. Six years later, he was selected as the North Carolina Elementary P.E. teacher of the year.

He was a NCHS men's and women's track coach for more than two decades, leading the Red Devils to their first men's team state championship in 2000.

"That's a special moment," Elrod said. "That's one of my favorite memories."

In 2005, he received a lifetime service award from the Physical Education Association.

Shuford Elementary principal Patrick Nelson said his students are lucky to have a teacher and mentor like Elrod.

"I've never met a teacher with as much passion as he has, not only for P.E., but for his students, as well," Nelson said.

But award committees and fellow educators aren't the only people singing Elrod's praises. First-grader Kylie Harmon said she enjoys having Elrod as her P.E. teacher.

"We get to do fun stuff (in class)," she said.

Elrod designed and built some of the equipment he uses during his "fitness station" activities, including a sit-up board that allows students to do sit-ups without needing other students to hold their feet.

"To be a happy, productive person, you've got to live a healthy lifestyle," Elrod said.

And that's a value he tries to instill in his students. Elrod's first-graders rotated around Shuford's gym Tuesday, climbing ropes, doing flips on parallel bars and walking along balance beams.

Elrod orchestrated the class carefully and watched for hurt hands, hurt feelings and excited smiles.

"Students see how hard work and persistence has paid off when they see people inducted into the hall of fame," Turner said. "They see (inductees') accomplishments."