This morning, the County Board of Education honored Rancho San Joaquin Middle School Principal Scott Bowman for his efforts in the 2009 Governor’s Challenge competition, which encouraged students, parents and staff to get active and fit. Bowman was named the Governor’s Challenge Principal of the Year for the entire Orange County Region. From September 2008 through May 2009, schools from all over California took part in the fitness contest by logging their exercise time in special calendars. (Our very own Greentree Elementary was named a state finalist.) Chris Corliss, the county’s coordinator of Health, Sports & Physical Education, praised Mr. Bowman for his ability to inspire students to get moving in creative ways, noting that the Rancho principal swapped a racquetball court for a popular climbing wall. Mr. Bowman, who was one of the state’s top P.E. teachers before becoming an administrator, has been an innovative champion of physical education for more than 20 years. And as principal he continues to “walk the talk – literally,” Corliss said, noting that Mr. Bowman recently trekked more than 9 miles through Rancho’s attendance area to encourage participation in the third annual Walk to School Day, which was sponsored by IPSF. The previous year, Principal Bowman inspired students and staff by walking to Rancho from his home – in Lake Forest. (To read the OC Register’s account of his journey, click here.) Overall in Orange County, nearly 28,000 students, teachers and parents logged more than 500,000 days of physical activity through the 2009 Governor’s Challenge. In addition to Mr. Bowman’s award, Columbus Tustin Middle School and the Buena Park School District were also honored Thursday.