ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA — April 27, 2007 — Patricia A. Laney, the 2007 Department of Defense Education Activity's (DoDEA's) Teacher of the Year, participated with other 2007 state Teachers of the Year in a recognition ceremony yesterday at the White House. The ceremony, hosted by President George W. Bush, officially acknowledged Andrea Peterson, a music teacher at Monte Cristo Elementary School in Granite Falls, Wash., as the 57th National Teacher of the Year.
The National Teacher of the Year Program, sponsored by the ING Foundation, is a project of the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). The program focuses public attention on teaching excellence and is the oldest and most prestigious awards program for teachers. A committee of representatives from 15 national education organizations chooses the National Teacher of the Year from among the state teachers of the year, including those representing American Samoa, DoDEA, the District of Columbia, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Laney is a 23-year teaching veteran and is a 4th grade teacher at Murray Elementary School in Fort Bragg, NC. She has also taught at Department of Defense Schools in Bad Kreuznach, Germany, and Irwin Middle School at Fort Bragg. Mrs. Laney also taught at Terrance Hills Elementary School in El Paso, Texas.
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 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 then competes for the title of National Teacher of the Year.
Laney said her visit to the White House and meeting with the President was an experience of a lifetime.
"Meeting with the President was a personal and professional honor," she stated. "I was especially proud to represent DoDEA schools and all that we do for military families," she added.
Laney attributes her success in the classroom to her belief in the importance of connecting with students in meaningful ways that influence the kinds or people they want to become.
"I have always believed that to be a successful teacher, one must make personal connections with students," she said. "Many of our children do not have family living close to them and they have parents who may be deployed for long periods of time. Making those connections is even more important for our students."
Laney knows all too well what military students experience. With more than 20 years experience as an Army spouse, she values the impact the community has on students and families.
"I know from personal experience that my students have many wonderful opportunities available to them," she said. "It takes the entire school, families, and community to make highest student achievement a reality. All of us working together can develop a sense of caring that is real, a sense of personal responsibility and self-discipline that is necessary for children to be successful students and citizens of the world."
The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) is a nonpartisan, nationwide, nonprofit organization of public officials who head departments of elementary and secondary education in the states, the District of Columbia, the Department of Defense Education Activity, and five U.S. extra-state jurisdictions. CCSSO provides leadership, advocacy, and technical assistance on major educational issues. The Council seeks member consensus on major educational issues and expresses their views to civic and professional organizations, federal agencies, Congress, and the public.
ING Group is a global financial institution of Dutch origin offering banking, insurance and asset management to more than 60 million private, corporate and institutional clients in 50 countries. With a diverse workforce of more than 120,000 people, ING comprises a broad spectrum of prominent companies that increasingly serve their clients under the ING brand.
In the U.S., the ING family of companies offers a comprehensive array of financial services to retail and institutional clients, which include life insurance, retirement plans, mutual funds, managed accounts, alternative investments, direct banking, institutional investment management, annuities, employee benefits, financial planning and reinsurance. ING holds top-tier rankings in key U.S. markets and serves more than 15 million customers across the nation. For more information, visit www.ing.com.