Maricopa Unified School District teachers won the bowling trophy during the first Keeping Teachers Teaching event this year: (from left) Wendy Wear, former Arizona Cardinal Frank Sanders, Derek Picha, Steven Sorenson, Kathleen Kelley and KTT founder Darryl Gooden. Submitted photo

The inaugural Arizona Teachers Appreciation Fun Run is set for Saturday at Steele Indian School Park in Phoenix, and Maricopa teachers are invited to the free event.

Created by the organization Keeping Teachers Teaching, the 2K run/walk is sponsored by Ak-Chin Indian Community. The event is free for teachers to enter, and the first 366 to register get a T-shirt.

There will be entertainment, a DJ, vendors, free food, kid-friendly activities and a performance by FootKlan.

The events run from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Local celebrities, professional athletes and gold medalist Michelle Perry (2005 World Championships, 100-meter hurdles) will join teachers and participants.

Organizer Darryl Gooden, a Maricopa resident and substitute teacher, said he started a series of morale boosting events for teachers as a way to give back.

“Teachers are overworked and underpaid,” Gooden said. “A lot of them are leaving the profession. And these are good teachers. We just wanted to find a way to say ‘Thank you,’ to show them we value them, to keep them teaching.”

The first Keeping Teachers Teaching event was a bowling tournament for Arizona school districts joined by Arizona celebrities. Teachers from Maricopa Unified School District, with former Arizona Cardinal Frank Sanders, won the trophy.

For Saturday’s event, teachers will meet at the park at 300 E. Indian School Road. Parking is in Lot C, and registration is at the amphitheater.

That evening is International Jazz Day from 4 to 10 p.m. at CityScape, 1 E. Washington St. This event is also free to teachers with their teaching ID. That includes access to the VIP tent, an event poster, T-shirt, food, two drinks and a photo op with the jazz musicians.

For everyone else, there is a $20 general admission fee. Parking is available in the underground parking lot of CityScape.

“We honor veterans and first responders; I just thought it was time to show our appreciation for teachers,” Gooden said.





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