Mary C. Connolly


Mary C. Connolly

Program Chair, Skills-Based Health/SEL and Senior Instructor




“Teachers have the greatest impact on student achievement.” Understanding a Teacher’s Long-Term Impact | Edutopia

With the national and state health education teacher shortage, what can be done to attract more young people to become health educators?

Youth receiving interactive, age-appropriate, interesting, skills-based health education from a vibrant, well-trained health educator may be just the factor to persuade them to enter the field.

Training skills-based health educators is my passion. My work shows itself through my textbooks, the training of health educators at Cambridge College, presentations at state and national workshops, and consultation services to districts to help them transform their content-based programs into skills-based.

Over time, Cambridge College skills-based health education graduates have impacted district curriculum and most importantly, have impacted students. They help youth achieve personal health and wellness which contributes to academic achievement. Health and Academics | Healthy Schools | CDC

These excited young people, who learn so much about themselves, others, and their community may be attracted to the field and become our next generation of skills-based health educators!


Mary is the Program Chair of the Skills-Based Health/Social Emotional program at Cambridge College. At the college, Mary is responsible for delivering quality programs for students seeking a Master of Education Degree, online health and physical education certificates, and a certificate for additional training in health education.

She is also a health education consultant and helps many districts transform their curriculum from content-based to skills-based.

She is the author of Skills-Based Health Education, second edition, Teaching SEL in Health Education, and co-author of Infusing Self-Advocacy in Physical Education and Health Education, a special book that includes chapters from professionals from across the country and Europe.

Mary, and a colleague, are designing and developing skills-based health education units, lessons, professional development and training for the state of Oklahoma.

Mary presents at the annual Massachusetts Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance (MAHPERD) conference and the Society for Health and Physical Educators (SHAPE) national conference. In the fall of 2023, Mary presented at the Indiana and New York state professional conventions. Also in 2023, Mary designed and presented a SHAPE professional learning community (PLC) program about teaching SEL in the health classroom.

Mary received the MAHPERD Joseph McKenney Award in 2020. It is the highest award given to a member of MAHPERD. In 2021, SHAPE America inducted Mary into the SHAPE America Hall of Fame, a Lifetime Achievement Award.

Mary served as the Chair of the SHAPE America Task Force on Social Emotional Learning and as a member of the SHAPE Health Education Council. She served on the committee that revised the National Health Education Standards and the committee that revised the Massachusetts Health and Physical Education Curriculum Framework. Mary is a current member of the Boston Public Schools sub-committee for Health Education, a member of the National Academy of Health and Physical Literacy, SHAPE America, ASCD, and MAHPERD.

Education & Certifications

  • Certified Health Education Specialist, NCHEC
  • CAGS, Bridgewater State University
  • MEd, Bridgewater State University
  • BS, Bridgewater State University

Courses Taught

  • Implementing Curriculum in the Health Classroom
  • Assessing Health Literacy

Awards, Recognitions, Research & Selected Published Work

  • 2022 Joseph McKinney Award-Massachusetts Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance-
  • 2021 SHAPE America Hall of Fame Award-SHAPE America
  • Cambridge College Leadership Award
  • Cambridge College Scholarship Award
  • Publication: Skills-Based Health Education, Second edition, Jones and Bartlett
  • Publication: Teaching SEL in Health Education, SHAPE America
  • Publication: Infusing Self-Advocacy in Physical Education and Health Education
  • SHAPE America 8 session professional learning community-Teaching SEL in Health Education
  • Oklahoma: Design and write PreK-12 skills-based lessons collaboratively with Melanie Lynch.