Coach Council Officially Launches


June, 2023 – The first-of-its-kind Coach Council* has officially launched, in a partnership between Wellness in the Schools, Exos, and the NYC Public Schools Office of School Wellness Programs. Coach Council members will provide professional learning and leadership education to teachers, host bi-annual curriculum training, and serve as spokespersons during events, all supporting the live virtual programming of daily fitness breaks for public school students in the classroom. 

The Coach Council is composed of notable coaches and wellness programming leaders, including Wellness in the Schools Senior Program Manager Errol Jones, Exos’ President & Founder/Elite Training Coach Mark Verstegen, and NYC Public Schools Office of School Wellness Programs Instructional Specialists Liz McSpedon. Joining this strong team are NBC Correspondent/Former NFL player & coach Jason Garrett and Elite Personal Trainer/TV Journalist Jenna Wolfe. 

On October 6th, in honor of National Coaches Day, we will launch the first-ever Coaches Summit led by the Coach Council, Exos, Wellness in the Schools, and NYC Public Schools. 75 Physical Education (PE) teachers will come together at this summit to learn directly from the Coach Council and Exos’ performance coaches and be empowered to share what they’ve learned with their colleagues to increase wellness activities in daily school programs. The summits will incorporate key foundations of mindset, nutrition, movement, and recovery, supporting physical activity role models to be their best as they teach, coach, and inspire all NYC students. All 75 PE teachers will earn continuing education credits and have the opportunity to be a district ambassador.  Over the course of two years, the Coach Council and Coaches Summit will train 150 PE teachers who collectively reach 75,000 students a year.  

In parallel, Wellness in the Schools will be on the ground in schools this fall supporting the daily live virtual programming. WITS Coaches will teach live WITS FIT BITS, lead professional development for teachers, and guide the teachers, staff, and school community through the implementation of the live streamed fitness breaks and best practices for the technology in a classroom. WITS Coaches and staff will continue to work with the school to shift the culture and prioritize well-being as a whole.

The recent Coach Council and Coaches Summit launch comes on the heels of launching  Coach for Good, an initiative between Wellness in the Schools and Exos. Coach for Good, which builds on our Coach for Kids programming model, has brought virtual on-demand and live-streamed daily fitness breaks to 7,500 students across 15 New York City public schools in this spring’s pilot. These 15-minute fitness breaks help activate the brain, improve on-task behavior, strengthen students’ ability to focus, and help students return to their academic time ready to learn. The fitness breaks also help students reach the CDC’s recommendation of 60 minutes of daily physical activity. Leading the fitness breaks is Exos human performance coach and educator, Eric Dannenberg. With over 15 years of coaching experience and educating professional and youth athletes and the general population, he engages students at an age-appropriate level while making it a fun activity for the entire classroom. His daily classes this spring and summer included sports drills and a Super Bowl field trip, guiding students through functional life skills like body awareness, confidence, balance, strength, and coordination.  Our partnership with Exos is built through our like-minded missions, teamwork, passion, and most of all, having fun with the students and teachers! 

In celebration of Coach for Good and uplifting the wellness culture at our schools, we executed several WITS Play Days this spring.  WITS Director of Operations & Communications, Wendy Siskin, reflects on her favorite school visit to West Prep Academy in January when the Coach for Good initiative launched. “It was such an exciting launch to see WITS and Exos, coaches and leaders from each organization, teachers, students, and leaders from the school, and the much-deserved Press highlighting the excitement of this partnership and this work all in the same room together celebrating,” she said.

This program will grow to reach all schools in NYC, then ultimately expand nationally. We are excited to empower and inspire teachers, students, and school communities with movement and the skills needed for long-term success. 

Exos Partner Coach Eric Dannenberg leads a fitness break at PS 160, Queens