ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA — October 9, 2007 — Cathleen Marziali is the 2008 Department of Defense Education Activity's (DoDEA's) Teacher of the Year. Mrs. Marziali, a 20-year teaching veteran, is a Kindergarten-1st Grade teacher at Naples Elementary School in Naples, Italy, where she is teaching Spanish in the school's Foreign Language in the Elementary School (FLES) program. She has taught at Naples Elementary since 2004 as an Italian Immersion instructor and summer enrichment instructor. Prior to entering the DoDEA school system, she held a variety of teacher and school administrator positions in Hanford, Laton and Lemoore, Calif., including Special Programs Curriculum Consultant, Learning Director, and kindergarten and second grade teacher. She earned her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology from the University of California at Los Angeles, and holds a Master's Degree in Educational Administration from Fresno Pacific University.
The DoDEA Teacher of the Year Program recognizes and promotes excellence in education. Teachers may be nominated by a peer, administrator, parent, student, or community member. Nominees complete an application packet and submit it to a selection panel at a DoDEA District Office where one applicant is chosen as the District Teacher of the Year. A second panel assembled at DoDEA Headquarters then selects the DoDEA Teacher of the Year from the candidates submitted from each district. The DoDEA Teacher competes for the title of National Teacher of the Year.
The Teacher of the Year Program encourages teachers to take an active part in educational leadership. As outstanding educators, those selected perform a variety of roles. They promote the teaching profession and work with school officials to enhance the quality of teaching and the education of DoDEA students.
In selecting Mrs. Marziali, the panel cited her leadership positions on Naples Elementary School's Technology Committee and School Advisory Committee as well as serving as the supervisor of student teachers. Denise Webster, Assistant Principal at Naples Elementary, said, "Cathy's involvement in school improvement demonstrates strong professional leadership that encourages the professional staff to embrace change in practices that benefit student learning."
Mrs. Marziali has been instrumental in developing a rigorous curriculum for her students that is rooted in providing relevant and rigorous learning experiences for her students. This belief, accompanied by her pursuit of establishing positive relationships with her students, their families and her colleagues at school have had a profound impact on her approach to teaching and her philosophy of learning. Richard R. Alix, Naples Elementary School Principal attributed Marziali's beliefs and practices to her effectiveness inside and outside the classroom.
"Cathy radiates passion for the teaching profession," said Alix. "She applies the concept of strong relationships that supports learning in her work with children and families. Springing from this foundation, Cathy's standards-driven approach to teaching provides for rigor and relevance as she develops programs for the children she teaches. Her focus on collegiality and her willingness to help whenever and wherever needed, serves as a beacon and gives positive direction to school-wide efforts that help every student achieve their highest potential."
Marziali bases her approach to teaching and credits her achievements to the "Three R's" Rigor, Relevance and Relationships.
"I believe the goal of our educational system is to educate the next generation to become productive, responsible citizens who have the knowledge, skills and abilities to participate in and contribute to our global society," she said. "I entered the teaching profession because I wanted to make a difference in people's lives and I have not been disappointed. It's not necessarily the lessons or the bulletin boards or the reading groups that my students will remember, but it's how I made them feel that is one of the greatest rewards I've experienced in my teaching career," she said.
DoDEA plans, directs, coordinates, and manages the education programs for Department of Defense (DoD) dependents who would otherwise not have access to a high-quality public education. DoDEA consists of the Department of Defense Dependents Schools (DoDDS) located overseas, and the Department of Defense Domestic Dependent Elementary and Secondary Schools (DDESS) located in the United States and its territories and possessions. DoDEA provides education to eligible DoD military and civilian dependents from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade.