ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA — May 5, 2008 — Jennifer E. Halley, of Jackson Elementary School at Fort Campbell, KY, is the 2008 Department of Defense Education Activity's (DoDEA's) Assistant Principal of the Year for Elementary and Middle Level.
The DoDEA Assistant Principal of the Year for Elementary and Middle Level is awarded annually to recognize exemplary elementary and middle school assistant principals who set the pace, character, and quality of the education children receive during their early school years. The award program's criteria includes examining how principals: assure all students are meaningfully engaged in active learning; connect professional development to school learning goals; use data as tools to identify barriers to success; design strategies for improvement and plan daily instruction; encourage parental involvement in the school and their child's individual learning; and participate in community service and professional activities as well as their awards and honors.
Halley began her 22-year career with DoDEA in 1986 as a special education teacher at Bad Kissingen Elementary School in Germany. In 1988 she went on to become the Education Program Manager at Ludwigsburg Elementary School in Germany. In 1991, she became the Assistant Principal of Halvorsen Elementary School at Rhein Main Air Base, Germany and in 1995 she went on to become the Assistant Principal at Bahrain Unit School in Manama, Bahrain. Ms. Halley moved to the Department of Defense Schools - Europe Area Office in Wiesbaden, Germany in 1999 to become an Instructional Systems Specialist and in 2005, she began her current tenure as Assistant Principal of Jackson Elementary School which is part of DoDEA's Domestic Dependents Elementary and Secondary Schools (DDESS) system.
Prior to her career with DoDEA, Halley was a teacher of students with moderate to severe disabilities at Randolph Central School Corporation in Winchester, IN, and a resource teacher with the Indianapolis Public Schools. Halley received her Bachelor of Science degree from Ball State University in Muncie, IN, and her Masters of Science Degree from Indiana University in Bloomington, IN.
Halley's educational philosophy is based on three priorities - a connection to students; a data-driven school, and staff development.
"Not only is the academic life of children important, but their social-emotional well-being is critical as well," she said. "It's been statistically proven that when a child connects with an adult in the school setting the child is a more productive learner.
"Data allows us to determine if our instructional innovations are worthy or successful because it lets us know if students have learned or not," Halley added. "Students are motivated as they watch their individual data, classroom data, and grade level data soar. They work more intensely and set higher personal goals to better themselves. Parents are also pleased with progress reports because they are data based. Data helps parents and teachers come together and map out strategies for improvement.
"Staff development can open teachers' minds to new ideas and to attempt to do things differently," Halley said. "If we want independent scholars and thinking individuals, we must supply them with the opportunities to learn in that fashion."
Susan Ahart, Principal of Jackson Elementary School, 2008 DoDEA Principal of the Year for Elementary and Middle Schools, and DoDEA's nominee to the 2008 National Distinguished Principals (NDP) Program, praised Halley for her people-focused approach, her persistence and passion for excellence and efficiency and for being an effective instructional leader.
"Ms. Halley is generous with praise, quick to smile, and always on the lookout for the positive in any situation. People like to be around her. Their world looks better because she models her belief it is to good to be alive; work can be a positive experience and no matter the setbacks, progress in inevitable."
Stephen Markway, Assistant Principal of Marshall Elementary School, also at Fort Campbell, praised his colleague Halley for empowering her teachers.
"Jennifer empowers educators to resolve their own issues and serves largely as a resource of information and a facilitator of discussions," he said. "Teachers take responsibility for the decisions made and outcomes obtained. This high degree of ownership inspires and motivates educators to do more."
Halley follows last year's honoree, Dr. Thomas R.E. Waters, Assistant Principal of Ramstein Middle School in Ramstein, Germany. DoDEA will recognize Ms. Halley for her achievements later this year.
In announcing Halley's selection, DoDEA Director Joe Tafoya said, "Jennifer embraces the very best of the qualities we look for in strong assistant principals. She knows what good teaching looks like in the classroom and works with educators ensure that all students are meaningfully engaged in learning. That strong focus on teaching and learning makes her an outstanding professional and a wonderful representative of assistant principals across the system."
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.