ARLINGTON, VA — August 10, 2010 — Ms. Carol Drechsel will retire on Wednesday, September 1, after 38 years of service to the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA).
Drechsel began her career with DoDEA in 1970 as a fifth grade teacher at Sukiran Elementary School (now Zukeran Elementary School) in Okinawa, Japan.
During her two tours in Okinawa, Drechsel taught freshman and senior English for PREP, a high school diploma equivalency program for young Marines, and was a Reading Improvement Specialist at two of the island’s middle schools.
In 1980 she transferred to Lajes High School at Lajes Field in the Azores where she taught English and Reading Strategies. Drechsel also taught classes for students with learning learning disabilities at Lajes Elementary School for three years.
She transferred to Menwith Hill Unit School in North Yorkshire, England in 1984. While there Drechsel served as a resource teacher for students with learning disabilities as well as providing compensatory education and reading improvement classes.
In 1989 Drechsel became a trainer with The Study of Teaching (TST) Program in the Department of Defense Dependents Schools’ (DoDDS) Atlantic Region. At the time this region included Iceland, Newfoundland, Bermuda, Norway, Great Britain, and the BENELUX countries. When the regional office closed in 1994 she moved to the Brussels District Superintendent’s Office (DSO) as a staff developer.
For Drechsel, working in a district office was a rewarding experience. She attributes that experience to the fact that she was in close proximity to the teachers and students she served.
In 1999 she moved to DoDEA Headquarters where she has had the opportunity to expand her work in professional development to include DoDEA’s stateside schools.
Prior to joining DoDEA, Drechsel taught school in St. Louis, Missouri.
One of Drechsel’s biggest challenges throughout her career was convincing her mother to let her teach abroad.
“My mother had these visions of Okinawa as this World War II battlefield where horrible things happened,” Drechsel explained. “She thought the vegetation was all burned and it was a desolate area. I don’t think that image ever left her; although I did send many photographs that first year. So that was a bit of a challenge, a mother’s guilt, tears, my daughter’s leaving me–that kind of thing.”
Drechsel’s most rewarding experiences were working with a vast array of people from different backgrounds and cultures.
“…Working with people from so many lifestyles, so many different parts of the United States, and so many different parts of the world, makes for a very rich learning environment for any individual,” she said. “You really have great learning experiences from people all over the world who teach you all sorts of things.”
She hopes people will remember her for being a great professional developer, being a hard worker, and being good at her job.
“Those are the kinds of things that keep you going and make you feel like you’ve touched tomorrow just like teachers do,” said Dreschel.
Drechsel is grateful for her time with DoDEA and enjoyed her time with the agency. She advises new employees to keep their sense of integrity.
“I would like to tell [new employees] to keep their sense of integrity and their sense of humor. That definitely will help,” she advised. “Be good at what you do. There’s lots of bad examples out there and being good at what you do is really noteworthy.”
Drechsel says that she will miss her working relationships and working collaboratively with her colleagues after she retires.
“Some of the best work that I think I’ve done is when I’ve teamed with others to create things such as the Multidimensional Administrator Performance Appraisal (MAPA), or the integrated course work, or the Creating Conditions for Powerful Learning (CCPL) program,” she said.
A native of Missouri, Drechsel is looking forward to going home to St. Louis after she retires and living in her retirement home that she bought there. She is also looking forward to writing her memoirs and doing some volunteer work for her community.
Congratulations Carol on your retirement! It has been an honor working with you at DoDEA. Best wishes in the years to come!