Dr. Deb Berkey

Director | School Education & Training, Midwest Regional Manager

A native of Pennsylvania, Berkey began her teaching career in Wetzel County, WV following graduation from Slippery Rock State University in 1976. An elementary physical education teacher and a high school coach, she became a strong advocate for physical education through her efforts as a teacher, coach, official and, later, a university professor and administrator. She completed a Masters and a Doctorate at West Virginia University and accepted a position at Western Michigan University in 1985.

Berkey was a dedicated teacher educator at WMU incorporating best practice, applied research, technology and advocacy in applied settings across her career.  Her work with teachers and students was grounded in practical application.  She was instrumental in the development of the online graduate pedagogy program at Western Michigan University.  Deb also served as the Chair of the Health, Physical Education and Recreation Department from 1994-2007.  Deb served on department, college and University curriculum committees. She retired in June 2018 after 33 years of service.

From 2004 to 2007, Berkey co-directed a Carol M. White PEP Grant with Dr. Dan Pratley. The project took place in Van Buren County, Michigan and involved 12 school districts including 55 physical educators and 17,000 students. This four year effort  incorporated heart rate technology, nutrition, curriculum and professional development.    During the last five years of her career at WMU, her projects were focused on technology applications in physical education settings including remote supervision of interns using FaceTime and iPads.  To ensure that students had applied experience using heart rate monitors,  Berkey convinced WMU to purchase “traveling Heart Zones Systems”.  Each intern taught using the system for several weeks during their internship.

Among her professional roles, Deb has served as the President of the Midwest District of the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education and Recreation, President of the National Council of Phi Epsilon Kappa, Midwest Representative to AAHPERD Board of Governors and the Midwest Representative to the National Council of Phi Epsilon Kappa.  She has received the MAHPERD, Midwest and AAHPERD Honor Awards, Meritorious Service Awards and the MAHPERD University Professor of the Year Award. She has also been inducted into the North American Society of Health, Physical Education, Recreation, Sport and Dance Professionals. In February 2009,  she was asked to serve as the Interim Physical Education Consultant for the Michigan Department of Education. She served both Western Michigan University and the State of Michigan in those capacities until 2013.

Among her professional awards are Meritorious Service, University Educator and Honor Awards from the Michigan Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance, Midwest District and parallel awards from the MW District and SHAPE-America.  Berkey also received the MACUPE Scholar by the MW District (2018),  Mentor of the Year by SHAPE-America (2018) and she is a North America Society Fellow and a member of West Virginia University School of Physical Education Hall of Fame.

An avid golfer, Berkey also enjoys cycling and international travel. She has traversed across the Netherlands, Italy and southern France on bike and barge trips and has been fortunate to visit Belgium, Switzerland, Indonesia, China, Taiwan, Greece, Turkey, Scotland, Germany, Australia and New Zealand. She resides in southwest Michigan where she enjoys the best of both “water worlds” at her home on an inland lake 20 minutes from South Haven on Lake Michigan.


Following retirement from WMU,  Deb accepted a position with Heart Zones, Inc. as the Director of Education and Training.  The Heart Zones System facilitates the pursuit of healthy, active lifestyles through the use of a practical IOS App that features wearable devices and equipment like heart rate monitors, activity trackers plus equipment like treadmills and rowers designed to collect and generates real-time data and reports.  Currently, Berkey travels across the United States offering sessions focused on the use of Moderate to Vigorous Physical Activity and use of the Heart Zones Move Solutions in school settings.