George Boutis – Lessons from 39 Years at Packer
A pillar of Packer’s Physical Education and Athletics program, George Boutis is not your typical gym teacher. An avid yoga and meditation practitioner, Mr. Boutis has a side that many Packer students may not expect.
After briefly being a teacher-in-training at Hunter High School, Mr. Boutis came in for an interview at Packer with Coach Rich Domanico in 1982, quickly hitting it off and getting the job. Since then, he has coached around 70 seasons and taught countless P.E classes during his tenure at Packer.
Despite teaching at Packer for almost four decades, his teaching style is anything but typical of the school, as he himself would be the first to admit. Although he is always respectful of his students, he has a no-nonsense attitude towards his students. “I’ve always been described as rough around the edges. I probably lead the Packer faculty in getting in trouble.” However, for some that attitude is a breath of fresh air. “The class only works if people are putting in the effort to make it fun. He’s going to push the students to be the best version of themselves possible” says Miles Wachsteter (‘22).
Despite his self-confessed rough exterior, Mr. Boutis is a deeply spiritual person, being not only an advocate for physical health, but for mental and spiritual health as well. Two formative college classes, philosophy and psychology, opened the floodgates which led him to spirituality and yoga. “I wanted to know more about life’s big questions, why are you here, what happens after you die, etc. It is the core of my life.” He meditates for at least an hour most mornings, and spends most of his summers in yoga ashrams and national parks.
Mr. Boutis hopes to pass his love of meditation and yoga onto Packer students. Not only is he a leader of the Mindfulness and Meditation symposium, but he worked to add yoga and meditation into the P.E. curriculum. Students will now participate in a yoga unit, with part of the class dedicated to practicing and learning about meditation. Mr. Boutis says he is more than happy to spend a good part of his class speaking in-depth about the benefits of meditation or his experiences with yoga, making his passion for the subject clear.
After 39 years spent teaching, this will be Mr. Boutis’s final school year. When asked what advice he would give to Packer students, Mr. Boutis said, “spend some time in the space between your thoughts. The most important things can be found inside of yourself. I’ve been blessed with the ability and the will to look inward, and I think with practice anybody can.”
Olivia Rosas (‘22) said,“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed being taught by Mr. Boutis. He’s been my gym teacher for two years in a row and his passion for what he teaches never falls short.” She continues,“It’s not a Boutis class without some jokes. I am definitely going to miss Mr. Boutis and everything he brought to Packer throughout his years of teaching.”