Lewis Kanyiba

Assistant Professor of Health and Physical Education

“Students should be educated about, and take care of the only irreplaceable possession they have: their body. Mind and soul cannot flawlessly operate on a neglected body.”

Lewis Kanyiba realized his potential as an educator when he was in junior high school in Kenya. His business studies teacher insisted that he teach a freshman class once a week to improve on some weaknesses in the course.

“That is when my passion as an educator emerged,” he said.

Kanyiba comes from a family of educators. His mother taught elementary school and his oldest sister is a high school teacher.

“Teaching is second nature to me,” he said. “Teaching is a service and a helping profession – the core values my parents instilled in me at an early age.”

Kanyiba received both his bachelor of education and master of science degrees in physical education and health education from Kenyatta University in Kenya. While pursuing his master’s degree, Kanyiba taught K-12 physical education and coached.

In 2009, Kanyiba was accepted to Springfield College in Massachussetts where he earned his Ph.D. in physical education with an emphasis in teaching and administration. He served as a research and teaching assistant in the Department of Physical Therapy.

Following graduation, Kanyiba worked as an assistant professor of health and physical education at both Lane College and Bethel University before joining the faculty at Henderson State in 2015.

Kanyiba said the most satisfying aspect of teaching is “getting to do what I love doing.”

“It is pure joy to have a student teacher in class, take them through lesson planning and early field experience, observe them during their internship, shake their hand at graduation, and receive good news that they have students of their own as teachers,” he said. “That is a circle that I love pursuing without getting dizzy.

“My enjoyment in teaching is also pure love of knowledge, sharing it with students, and learning more from my students.”

Kanyiba said he is a “very practical” educator.

“I connect classroom content with tangible real-life situations that a student can relate to,” he said. “When I teach college students how to teach, I like them visualizing teaching actual children. Most of my students have to demonstrate their understanding of classroom content by teaching a middle school class for their early field experience.”

Once his students have demonstrated an understanding of the connection between physical literacy and overall wellness, Kanyiba said he feels confident they are in a position to spread that knowledge to others, especially to the children they will teach or raise.

“Once you start calling yourself a teacher, the responsibility bestowed upon you demands that you know your facts, model what you would like your students to become, and realize somebody else counts on you to be there for them,” he said. “That is what physical educators do: they teach, and not supervise play.

“They need to know that they are not ‘gym teachers.’ They are physical education teachers who teach children physical literacy for lifelong wellness.”

Kanyiba said students considering a career in health or physical education need to ask themselves three crucial questions.

  1. Are they willing to cherish physical literacy as a profession and a discipline worth studying?
  2. Are they willing to be devoted to service to others?
  3. Are they passionate about advocacy?

“If any student answers ‘yes’ to all these questions, then they are ready for a career as health/physical educators,” he said.

If he wasn’t an educator, Kanyiba said he would be a musician “by my own rights.” He has pursued music as a soloist, composer, pianist and a tutor.

“I listen to all kinds of music and I have a collection of music that I have listened to while growing up, so long as I can get hold of it,” Kanyiba said. “Playing such music is like time-traveling to me. I am fond of Beethoven and Bob Marley in equal measures.”

Kanyiba also enjoys history and cooking.

“I am a life member of the History Channel Club for seven years now,” he said. “I love all kinds of history from education, sports, World Wars to religion.

“I take cooking as an art and a home cooked meal is special to me. That is why I don’t eat out. Kenyan food is my favorite and I am a pretty decent cook myself.”

As a collegiate track athlete, Kanyiba was a training partner of Seun Ogunkoya, a two-time African champion in the 100m and the youngest runner in the world to run sub-10 seconds while preparing for the 2004 Athens Olympics.

In his second year at Henderson, Kanyiba received the 2016-2017 Teachers College faculty excellence award.

“I believe the award is a reflection of my dedication to quality teaching and commitment to physical education as a profession,” he said. “I am grateful to Henderson for the opportunity, and the HPER department and Teachers College for the recognition.”

Health, Physical Education and Recreation

Contact Info:

Degree and School:
Ph.D. in Physical Education, Springfield College


- Physical Education Pedagogy and Administration
- Sport and Exercise Psychology
- Youth Sport
- History and Philosophy of P.E. and Sport
- Technology Application in Movement Science

I've been at Henderson since: