Dr. Liz Dunham was raised in Onawa, Iowa, and she has been involved in education throughout her entire life. She taught junior high school and senior high school for ten years in Iowa and Washington State before joining DoDDS in 1987. At that time, she was hired as a staff developer, and for the next 11 years, she worked with K-12 teachers and administrators on school improvement and effective teaching practices. Throughout her work as a staff developer, she also taught graduate courses for Seattle Pacific University, the Cambridge Institute of Education in Cambridge, England, and the University of Maryland. She spent one year as the School Improvement Liaison for the UK District before becoming an Assistant Principal at Lakenheath Middle School in England. After two years, Dr. Dunham was promoted to Principal at Darmstadt Middle School, where she served for seven years. She was the principal of Landstuhl ES/MS for school year 2007/2008. Dr. Dunham became the Assistant Superintendent for the Kaiserslautern District in August, 2008 where she served until her promotion as the Superintendent of the Bavaria District in November, 2012.
Dr. Dunham earned her B.A. from the University of Iowa. She completed her M.Ed. at Seattle Pacific University. In 1995, she earned her Ph.D. from the Cambridge Institute of Education in Cambridge, England. Dr. Dunham was the first American to earn the degree in this British program that was a joint venture between Cambridge University and the University of East Anglia.
Dr. Dunham has earned several honors and distinctions. She is a member of Pi Lambda Theta Honor Society and Phi Beta Kappa. She served as the president of UK ASCD, an educational organization for six years. She has made presentations at several national conferences, including the Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development Conference as well as the National Middle School Conference in 2006 in Nashville. Her publications include an article “Why Zeros Should Not Be Permitted!” in Principal magazine and “Inferences: Valid and Valued” in Modern Educational Measurement, Practical Guidelines for Educational Leaders, 3rd Edition, 2000, by Dr. James Popham. As a result of her outstanding leadership skills, Dr. Dunham was recognized as the National Distinguished Principal for 2006 for the Department of Defense Education Activity. This award, sponsored by the National Association of Elementary School Principals, recognizes principals who have demonstrated a commitment to excellence; high standards and expectations for students and staff; and evidence of support by colleagues, parents, and community.
Dr. Dunham is known for her enthusiasm and high-energy approach to leadership and the education of students. She has an open door policy and encourages involvement and open communication in every aspect of school. Dr. Dunham is married to Blan Palmer, a retired DoDDS high school principal. She enjoys travel, reading, sports, and students of all ages.