The World's Most Evidence-Based Physical Education & Physical Activity Programs!

SPARK Leadership Team


Julie Frank, SPARK Executive Director

Julie has more than 17 years of corporate and nonprofit experience in physical activity, physical education, health, and community wellness. From 2002-2015, Julie managed SPARK’s most important projects and relationships with Nike, New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, American Diabetes Association, BlueCross BlueShield Tennessee Health Foundation, and countless others. She provided expert consultation and support to projects throughout the U.S., and around the globe including SPARK’s successful dissemination effort in China.

Diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in January 1986, Julie has not let this disease stop her. Julie’s passion and mission in life is to inspire everyone to live an active and healthy life. Julie received the 2011 Volunteer of the Year Award from American Diabetes Associate, San Diego.

Julie received her bachelor’s degree in Community Health Education from UW-La Crosse, WI and has completed Master of Public Health coursework from San Diego State University. Julie has been a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) since 2000. “I enjoy longboard surfing, running, hiking, and spending time with my nephews.” Julie resides in San Diego, CA.

  • What I love about SPARK: SPARK is a Program – not a workshop. It’s “the what” to teach, “the how” to teach, the tools to teach with lifetime support, all combined to improve the health of children and creating a healthier school environment.

  • What is great about SPARK: It’s the most researched-based physical education program in the world—proven and effective!

  • Favorite SPARK lesson: In celebration of the SPARK Principals of 3, I have to list my top 3: All-Run Kickball, 5 Person Throw & Run, and Clean Your Room.

  • What makes you excited about SPARK: The endless possibilities of SPARK innovation and impact with the support of Gopher Sport!


Jeff Mushkin, SPARK Content Development Director

Jeff was first exposed to SPARK in 2004 while working for Shasta County Public Health Department in California. He became a SPARK trainer in 2005 and oversaw the SPARK Community Grant Program for Shasta County until 2007 when he joined the SPARK team. Jeff has spent the past 12+ years in SPARK curriculum design, professional development, and equipment selection. Jeff has a Bachelor of Science degree in Physical Education, a master’s degree in Public Health, and over 20 years of experience in physical education, health, and nutrition.

Jeff spends his time with wife Julie, daughter Katie, and his son Zack. In his free time, Jeff enjoys playing tennis and golf. Jeff resides in Louisville, KY.

  • What I love about SPARK: That the curriculum addresses all of the fundamental skills students need to learn and each unit follows a progression so each lesson builds upon the last.

  • What is great about SPARK: All of the supplement materials that enhance each of the lesson plans. There are task cards, skill cards, music, and assessments for teachers to use to reinforce learning.

  • Favorite SPARK lesson: Workout Buddies. I love the social interaction between partners and that it provides students with a choice in how they want to complete the activity.

  • What makes you excited about SPARK: I’m excited to join Gopher Sport to continue with my love of SPARK and creating physical education resources to meet the needs of teachers.


 

SPARK Territory Sales Managers

Brian Hull, SPARK Territory Sales Manager

855-500-3623

Born and raised in Colorado, Brian taught physical education for 8 years (from 2013-2021) in Denver, Colorado. All of Brian’s teaching experiences were in Denver Public Schools where he taught in highly impacted Title 1 schools. Throughout Brian’s teaching career, Brian constantly used the SPARK curriculum to give his students high quality physical education instruction and experiences.
In 2018, Brian was selected as the SHAPE Colorado High School Teacher of the Year. Furthermore, in 2020, Brian was selected as the SHAPE America Central District High School Teacher of the Year, in addition to the SHAPE America National High School Teacher of the Year. After receiving these awards, Brian decided to step away from teaching so he could make a greater impact on today’s youth all over the world. Therefore, in July 2021, Brian joined the SPARK and Gopher Sport teams as the SPARK Sales Manager so that he could assist physical educators across the globe in delivering high quality physical education curriculum to their students.

Brian spends his time with his identical twin brother Brad, his son Aiden, and his Labrador retriever Jake. In his free time, Brian enjoys playing and watching baseball and football (especially the Rockies and Cowboys). Brian resides in Lakewood, Colorado.

 

  • What I love about SPARK: The curriculum follows and aligns with SHAPE America’s national standards and appropriate instructional practices. Each lesson and activity has been carefully planned out so that the learning targets and concepts early on in a unit are needed for future lessons within the unit.

  • What is great about SPARK: SPARK is proven to work! There has been extensive research behind SPARK and is proven to help students in many ways, such as improve their physical fitness, sports skills, and academics. When teaching the SPARK curriculum, a physical educator has no doubt in their mind that they are delivering high quality instruction.

  • Favorite SPARK lesson: Decoder (in the SPARKFfit program). This lesson integrates literacy and encourages many SEL skills such as cooperation, teamwork, and conflict resolution. In addition, this lesson incorporates a very creative way to “disguise fitness” for your students!

  • What makes you excited about SPARK: Working with Gopher Sport, SPARK is constantly improving and being innovative. This allows me to share my passion of physical education and high quality P.E. instruction with other physical educators around the world.

Chris Nichols, SPARK Territory Sales Manager

855-530-1423

Chris has been a Physical Educator for 26 years in Texas. He has been recognized as a district finalist for Teacher of the Year and formerly served as the Early Childhood Chair Elect for the Texas Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (TAHPERD).

 Chris was selected as the 2018 TAHPERD elementary Physical Education Teacher of the Year. Chris has presented at state and national conferences and spent two years writing curriculum, creating, and delivering professional development, and supporting physical education teachers as a Health and Physical Education Specialist in a large urban district. After 26 years as an elementary Physical Education teacher, Chris joined the SPARK and Gopher Sport teams as a SPARK Territory Sales Manager so that he could assist physical educators across the globe in delivering high quality physical education curriculum to their students.

Chris spends his time with his wife, Michele, son Cooper, and his hyperactive dog Walker Texas Ranger. In his free time, Chris enjoys playing golf and watching all sports (especially the Oklahoma Sooners and Dallas Cowboys). Chris resides in Rowlett, Texas.

  • What I love about SPARK:SPARK is dedicated to creating, implementing, and evaluating evidence-based programs that promote lifelong wellness.

  • What is great about SPARK:SPARK helps children find joy in physical activity and allows them to develop various skills that will lead to lifetime fitness.

  • Favorite SPARK lesson: All OMNIKIN activities! These lessons are so unique and help to promote teamwork and cooperation.

  • What makes you excited about SPARK: The ability to work with Gopher Sport to deliver an outstanding SPARK curriculum to help educators throughout the world provide the highest quality Physical Education program.