Dr. Jamie Kootz says her dream of becoming a teacher of health and fitness at the college level is being fulfilled thanks to her education at the United States Sports Academy.
In fact Kootz, who earned her Master of Sports Science degree in sports health and fitness in 2010 and her Doctor of Education degree in sports management in 2016, is currently teaching at two universities in Kansas: Kansas Wesleyan University in Salina and MidAmerica Nazarene University in Olathe. Kootz, who resides in Salina, teaches sports management, health and fitness courses. Her Academy doctorate has a sports leadership specialization with an emphasis on sports health and fitness.
“Without the professors I had at the United States Sports Academy, I would not be the instructor I am able to be today,” Kootz said. “They found a way to push me, not to the point of breaking, but just enough to find the potential that they knew was in me.
“The Academy prepared me to be a leader,” Kootz said. “I would not be the leader I am today without the skills that I learned at the Academy. I have been given more confidence than I had before. It is one thing to have knowledge, but it is another to be taught how to use that knowledge.
“Much of the coursework from the Academy got me to not only think about situations but to describe what I would do differently in those situations. I have the resources to become the best professor I can be, as well as mentor others to become the best person they can be in a field of their dreams.
“The Academy is the leading school in the education of sports around the world,” she said. “I have learned the information I need to teach my students what there is to know about sports science with the research and knowledge to back up my reasons. Since my desire is to teach others about the sports field I cannot imaging learning more from another university.
“I have been taught that connections are important in any job but they are very important in teaching at the college level. I intend to stay connected with my professors with hopes to continue to help make the world of education stronger.”
Kootz first took master’s degree classes online with the Academy in 2008 while working as a high school substitute teacher in the St. Louis, Mo., area, where she also volunteered as a cross country and track and field coach at Washington University in St. Louis. Her volunteer coaching job later became her master’s program mentorship.
“I loved coaching, but I loved even more to teach others how to coach,” Kootz said. “The volunteering job turned into my Academy mentorship, along with working with the fitness department at Washington University in St. Louis. That was a great experience which led me to continue to work with them part time the following year, after my graduation for my master’s degree.
“In conjunction with the part-time coaching, I was personal training people in their homes and working at a community college,” she said. “That experience solidified my desire to teach at the college level.”
After relocating to Kansas due to her husband’s job, she received a call from MidAmerica Nazarene University, asking her to teach exercise physiology there.
“My dream became true at that moment,” Kootz said. “I love teaching; while there are hard days I still love to teach and inspire others to pursue their own dreams.”
Kootz is also an accomplished racewalker who once competed for USA Track and Field.
“I began racewalking in my last semester of my undergraduate program,” said Kootz, who earned her bachelor’s degree in secondary education at Concordia University. “I set a school record in both the indoor and outdoor 3,000-meter races. I competed in nationals for indoor and outdoor, and took 10th and 11th place, respectively. I felt very accomplished because, until that semester, I had never done anything with racewalking.”
“At the National 15K in Minnesota in 2007 I came in seventh place, only missing All-American status by 1 place and only about 20 seconds off of 6th place,” Kootz said.
She competed at the Racewalk World Cup Trials in 2008 up in Eugene, Ore., and took 16th place in the national field. She returned to the Racewalk World Cup Trials in 2010 in New York, where she finished 12th. She improved her time when the event returned to Eugene in 2012, where she finished in 10th place. However, an injury sidelined her and effectively ended her career in competitive racewalking, and she decided to become a racewalk official.
“I have officiated at five National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) National Championships, two Junior Olympic National Championships, one World Youth National Championship, and one World Cup trial,” Kootz said. “I was selected as the team manager in 2015 to lead team junior level USA against Canada. I was recently nominated as the racewalk chair official for the Missouri Valley Association. Missouri Valley will be hosting the National Junior Olympics in summer 2017.”