ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA — May 30, 2008 — Dr. Joe Tafoya, Director of the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA), was recently awarded the National Parent Teacher Association's (PTA's) Life Achievement Award.
National PTA President Jan Harp Domene presented the award to Dr. Tafoya recently in Europe during the PTA's convention to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the European PTA. The PTA Life Achievement Award is the highest honor from the nation's largest child advocacy organization and is presented to those who commit their lives daily to children and serve as advocates for children's education, health, and well-being. In recognizing Dr. Tafoya for being awarded the National PTA Life Achievement Award, Ms. Domene said, "We welcome you as a member to this distinguished group of recipients and we thank you for being an advocate for children."
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)/Department of Defense Dependent Schools (DoDDS) -Cuba, with oversight of more than 25,000 students in 60 schools located in seven eastern U.S. states, Puerto Rico, Cuba, and Guam.
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.
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.