Len Saunders dedicates every day of his career to making exercise fun.
The innovative Physical Education teacher was interviewed by NBC News during Valley View Elementary School’s 14th Annual EXERCISE US program. The national exercise event began at 8:00 a.m. on Thursday, September 29, 2022, in Montville Township, New Jersey.
A coast to coast activity, EXERCISE US was created by Saunders in 2008 to raise awareness of National Childhood Obesity Awareness month.
Nearly all of Valley View’s 5th grade students volunteered to arrive early to kick-off the annual EXERCISE US event. Launched in Montville Township at 8:00 a.m., for the next 10 hours, schools across the USA joined in, creating a wave of exercise across the nation.
“It begins at 8:00 a.m. in Montville,” Saunders explained to the students. “You will exercise for 15 minutes, and then other schools in NJ, and other states, will start at 8:15. Then other schools begin at 8:30, and then others. And that wave of exercise will go on and on, following each other, all the way across the country for the next 10 hours.”
According to MSN, EXERCISE US is “A 10-hour extravaganza that aims to instill healthy habits and a fondness for fitness at a young age.”
During the 14th annual exercise event, NBC interviewed Saunders, students: Melaina Naveendra (grade 5), Brady Smith (3), Alexa Semren (5) and Zakariyya Ali (5), as well as Principal Dr. Patricia Kennedy and Superintendent Dr. Thomas A. Gorman.
Saunders has been a PE teacher in the Montville Township Public Schools for 37 years. During that time he has created both national and international exercise events that are fun and encourage kids to make exercise part of their daily routines.
“The purpose behind EXERCISE US, is to motivate children to become physically fit and healthy by making exercise fun,” Saunders told NBC.
Saunders explained that “making exercise fun,” is the inspiration behind all of his unique and innovative activities, such as his international initiative: PROJECT A.C.E.S. (All Children Exercise Simultaneously).
A.C.E.S. will celebrate 35 years on May 3, 2023. During A.C.E.S., millions of students around the entire globe exercise simultaneously.
SPORTS ILLUNSTRATED calls A.C.E.S. “The world’s biggest gym class,” and has noted that “Lenny Saunders, a high-spirited phys-ed teacher at Valley View in Montville, N.J., should be applauded.”
Saunders is also an award-winning author who just released his 9th publication: "Coach Lenny's School Tips: Top 10 Physical Activity Skills Your Child Should Master Entering Kindergarten."
It is because of the “Coach Lenny” series that NBC asked to attend the September EXERCISE US event.
“One of the top questions I’m frequently asked is, ‘What physical activity skills are most important for children to master during their elementary school years?’ Saunders explained. “This inspired me to write a poster book on the topic to help teachers and parents foster some important skills for young children, which will help build proper growth and development.”
“Coach Lenny’s School Tips…” is the first book in a planned series of 5 to 7 books.
As an educator and author, and through his national and global exercise initiatives, Saunders has helped millions of children and their families, in Montville Township Public Schools, across the USA, and around the globe, stay healthy and fit.
The NBC Headline read: "Gym Teacher Inspires Students." The NBC interview was aired on New 4 News on Thursday, September 29, 2022. You can see the interview on the district's Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.