A professor’s passion for physical education


Angela McKillop, physical education professor at American River College, teaches different types of PE classes both at ARC and outside the college including cardio kickboxing. (Photo by Brandon Zamora)

Brandon Zamora

When it comes to physical education at American River College, there are many unique courses available. One such class is cardio kickboxing, taught by Angela McKillop, adjunct faculty in the physical education department. 

McKillop has taught at ARC since 2017. She has a masters degree in physical education and has taught overall for 15 years. Her love for physical education has brought her back home to ARC where she gets to teach her passion to the students who currently attend.

McKillop says that cardio kickboxing is a class that a lot of students at ARC really love to take. She says when the 2020 spring semester started, there weren’t any openings left in her class on the first day, and is currently still filled up.

“My cardio kickboxing class was full at the start of the semester, and we take 40 students,”  McKillop said. “It’s popular, and it’s still around after all these years.”

Before she started teaching, McKillop was a student here at ARC. She even played for ARC’s women’s soccer team from 2005 to 2006. 

Playing soccer at ARC is also how she met her husband, who played for ARC’s men’s soccer team during the same years.  McKillop likes to call her marriage, “the perfect American River love story.”

McKillop says that playing for the soccer team, as well as taking all those physical education classes at ARC, made her not only want to teach classes focusing on that subject, but come back to ARC and teach them to the students here. 

“That’s why I wanted to start teaching here at American River because when I attended here as a student, and took the required PE classes, I fell in love with the aerobics side, step aerobics, and cardio kickboxing.” McKillop said. “It made it full circle to come back and now teach at American River.”  

Alongside teaching cardio kickboxing at ARC, McKillop also teaches classes at California Family Fitness, as well as a few other local gyms in the Sacramento area. At these local gyms, she teaches cycling, yoga, bootcamp, step aerobics, aqua aerobics and many more classes. 

While it may sound like an incredibly demanding class, according to McKillop, the cardio kickboxing class actually starts off slow and works its way up to being more challenging as the semester goes on. 

“At the beginning of the semester we’re not doing a whole hour and 20 mintunes of straight jumping jacks,” McKillop said. “We start easing into it, and go longer each session towards the end of the semester—by the end of the semester we are doing around 50 to 60 minutes of a workout.”  

Jennah Booth, an ARC student in McKillop’s cardio kickboxing class this semester, really enjoys McKillop’s class. While she knows this class can be a challenge, it’s a good and welcoming challenge. 

“I have to be there at 9 a.m. so to get up early and work out first thing in the morning It’s good for me but it’s very challenging,” Booth said.

Although the class is challenging, Booth says McKillop makes it fun. Saying that McKillop is a “really good professor” and would suggest anyone looking for a physical education class at ARC to take one of her classes. 

“We do different types of workouts from partner workouts, or sometimes we’ll do a circuit workout,” McKillop said. “We do a variety of different workouts, not just kickboxing so students can go their own pace.”