ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA — May 2, 2008 — Dr. Joe Tafoya, Director of the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) today announced he will be retiring from Federal Service. Dr. Tafoya made his announcement in Tokyo, Japan.
Dr. Tafoya has served as the DoDEA Director since September 2000. He began his career with DoDEA in October 1999 when he was selected as the Deputy Director of DoDEA for the Domestic Dependent Elementary and Secondary Schools (DDESS), with oversight of more than 25,000 students in 60 schools located in seven eastern U.S. states, Puerto Rico and Cuba.
Looking back over his nearly nine-year tenure as the DoDEA Director, Dr. Tafoya cited two attributes that set DoDEA apart from other school districts.
"There are two factors that have a profound impact on our success the first is the support of military commanders and parents," he said. "The military values continued learning to accomplish the mission and that priority is incorporated into military family life.
"The commitment of the DoDEA staff, around the globe, also has a major impact on our success," he added. "During most of my tenure, our students and families have been faced with deployments, the Global War on Terrorism, and military transformation. Our staffs at our schools, districts, areas, and headquarters know what our students and families are facing and they are extremely dedicated to providing a quality education, and caring, concerned learning environment. You can't help but be on a military base and feel a special tie to students and families and appreciate the sacrifices they make every day for the rest of us."
Dr. Tafoya began his educational career in 1969 with the San Diego City Schools where he spent 21 years in a variety of capacities, including teacher, resource teacher, assistant principal and principal at the elementary, middle, and high school levels. In 1990, Dr. Tafoya was selected as the Assistant Superintendent, Secondary Schools for the Santa Ana Unified School District in Santa Ana, Calif. Four years later, in 1994, he was promoted to the Deputy Superintendent of Curriculum for the Santa Ana Unified School District.
He received his Doctorate in Educational Administration from Northern Arizona University in 1983. He also attended San Diego State University, where he earned a Master of Arts in Educational Administration and a Bachelor of Arts in Math and Physical Education.
During his eight-year tenure as DoDEA Director, Dr. Tafoya feels he was able to standardize, unify, and solidify the organization's approach and mission.
"I feel that our most important accomplishments during my tenure were that we were able to develop and implement common staffing standards, curriculum initiatives, and most recently bring a common approach to planning and programming our budget process," he said. "We've employed strong academic standards, consistency of instruction and we've experienced an even greater level of command support.
"I like to think we've come together as an organization, developed a greater appreciation and value for our uniqueness and now it's time to move forward," he added.
Dr. Tafoya is retiring from Federal Service at the end of June and will return to the West Coast and to his family.
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 grade 12. 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.