About Paul

Speaker, Consultant, Coach

Paul served as the Learning Readiness PE Coordinator for Naperville School District 203 in Naperville, Illinois where he also spent the last 26 years as the Department Chairman for PE, Health and Drivers Education at Naperville Central H.S. Paul retired in May 2010 after 40 years in education.

Through LRPE, Naperville Central High School has seen dramatic improvements in test scores, behavior, and childhood obesity. School districts from across the country and around the world visit to learn why this program is so successful. Many of these schools are using concepts learned by visiting Naperville Central, including schools in Denmark, China, So. Korea, Sweden, Japan, Australia, and Canada.

The Learning Readiness PE program has been highlighted on PBS “Needs to Know”, CBS’ “Early Morning Show”, ABC, NBC, CBC and FOX network news casts. ESPN and HBO also ran segments on this highly successful program. Documentaries of the programs at Naperville Central High School have been produced by TV affiliates in Denmark, South Korea, Sweden and China. Entities from 10 countries have traveled to learn about the program.

Paul has been awarded the “Healthy School Hero” by the Action for Healthy Kids. He has been inducted into the Athletic Hall of Fame at Quincy University and the Illinois Track Coaches Association Hall of Fame. He was appointed to the Illinois Stakeholder and Expert Task Force for Physical Education.

In addition, Paul has made presentations across the country on Learning Readiness PE, Childhood Obesity, Physical Education Curriculum, Technology Use in Physical Education, Small-Sided Games, Brain Breaks in the classroom and active classrooms. He has done presentations in 28 states to all kinds of audiences, community groups and businesses including the President’s Council on Health, Fitness and Nutrition in Washington D.C. Paul did a presentation at a TED X Talk in Bend, Oregon in the spring of 2015. Paul traveled to Sweden to present in the Spring of 2016 in Stockholm and in Summer of 2018 when he presented in 3 cites. He presented at the National SHAPE conference in 2016. In April 2019, Paul was the keynote speaker at the International PE Conference in Barcelona, attended by 120 teachers representing 36 countries and sponsored by ECIS.

Why Work With Paul


Paul teaches people how fitness and exercise affect the brain and enhances learning. He describes how to use Physical Education as a tool to improve student performance in schools. He has been a keynote speaker at conferences all over the country and in Sweden and Barcelona. His audiences include community members, Legislatures, school staff and school administrators and the Physical Education community. His lectures include the use of active classrooms as well as explaining the effects of nutrition and sleep on brain functioning. His presentations also include audience participation to show the benefit of active classrooms and ‘brain breaks”.


Real Results from our Academic Reading and Math Programs between 2005-2011

Recent Features


“Paul is an incredible innovator who along with Phil Lawler developed that most stunning physical education program ever. Since he has retired he has become a drop dead speaker, explaining ‘why and how’ to change your schools to make our kids more fit, smarter, and achieve a higher level of well-being.”


“Without question, Paul makes great things happen for students! He brings the science behind exercise and learning to an everyday level — our Move2Learn Summit participants left with a wealth of ideas to immediately implement in their classrooms and schools. Thanks Paul for being such a great speaker!”


“When I meet Paul Zientarski in 2009 I thought- what energy, what enthusiasm!  If every PE teacher had that in them there wouldn’t be any unhealthy kids in the world. Mr. Zientarski has since then been a fantastic mentor and a person that I could talk to about how to implement parts from his magnificent work in Naperville in Sweden. We have met several times since 2009. Since then he has been guiding teachers and principals on our visits to Naperville Central High School. The energy from our visits is affecting us all, every time we see him. During his fantastic lectures in Sweden, on two occasions, he has inspired many of us and today we have about 300 schools that are working with ideas from him and Naperville. Besides that I consider him as a very good friend and with a huge heart.”

Martin Lossman, Owner/ Director/Trainer of Teamkoncept in Sweden

“Paul Zientarski is not only an amazing presenter…he delivers information to parents and educators that is incredibly valuable and entertaining. Paul’s work around exercise, physical activity and the positive impact on brain function is something everyone who works with children should learn about. In my school district, Paul’s work is imperative to our strategic 5 year plan. His work serves as a foundation for my next book about whole child education. All schools deserve to understand why the mind-body connection is imperative for children to reach their fullest potential….Paul delivers this message like no other.”

Michael J. Hynes, Ed.D., Superintendent of Schools at Patchogue-Medford Schools

“Paul is an influential and motivating speaker that truly challenges us to better understand physical education, exercise, nutrition, health and wellness. His student-centered approach is thoughtful and deliberate that stimulates reflection on current practices while motivating teachers and professionals towards best practices. I always look forward eagerly to listening to Paul speak and hearing new innovative approaches and ideas.”

Dale D. Brown, Ph.D., FACSM, Professor of Exercise Physiology at the School of Kinesiology and Recreation

“First, it was an incredible honor to establish a relationship with Paul and when he graciously accepted my request to be a Keynote speaker for CAHPERD’s Our Time 2019 Conference I knew he would deliver.  In his Keynote address, he combined his teaching expertise, research, interactive activities with the audience all conveyed with tremendous passion and humor. His message is pure, articulate and from the heart.  In his breakout session, he explained what a comprehensive Physical Education curriculum include. He discussed every component that would make a successful Physical Education program, even including nutrition, sleep, fundamental skill development per grade level, and lifetime fitness-based activities.  Paul is a true legend in the profession of Physical Education and I, along with the audience were truly honored to see him deliver rich content in an emotional, passionate and authentic manner.”

Tim Hamel, Professor, Department of Kinesiology at Fresno State University

“In January, 2019, The Cove School was proud to sponsor Dr. John Ratey and Mr. Paul Zientarski to speak before a group of about 150 professionals and parents. Mr. Zientarski’s practical ideas were incredibly informative for parents seeking input on how to best help their children learn, and educators looking for guidance to improve student performance academically, behaviorally, and emotionally. Mr. Zientarski showed the group a number of practical ways to apply Dr. Ratey’s research such as The Learning Readiness Physical Education program used at Naperville Central High School. “Brain Breaks,” small physical activity breaks during the day, were discussed, demonstrated, and shown to be a proven technique to incorporate movement into learning. Teachers received valuable advice about classroom layout, daily movement, and the overall design of a movement-based educational program. The day included participatory movement activities, which got the entire Cove School teaching community up and moving! All attendees were inspired by the presentation and eager to implement the ideas into their classrooms and personal lives.”

Jan Morgan, Ed.D, Director of Program at The Cove School

Chicago Public Schools has had the privilege of working with Paul Zientarski since 2010 both as a keynote, presenter and as a mentor to new teachers. His expertise in the application of neuroscience to physical education and all academic programming has had an impact on education outcomes and has provided our health and physical education teachers with a tool kit for their classroom as well as the knowledge to work with their school community on implementation.”

Eileen M. Hare, M.S., Manager | Health and Physical Education, Chicago Public Schools

Our district took to opportunity to have Paul speak to administration, school board, faculty, staff, and community members about the positive connections between exercise, physical activity, and cognition. Not only is Paul a fun and engaging speaker, but he also takes the intricacies of neuroscience and presents it in a manner that is relatable to our work in education. Hearing Paul’s message and witnessing the research he brings with him is a must for anyone interested in the successful development of children.

Dan Phelps | Assistant Principal, Hononegah Community High School

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