As the Director of the Department of Defense Dependents Schools-Pacific and the Domestic Dependent Elementary and Secondary Schools/Guam (DoDDS Pacific/DDESS-Guam), Dr. Curtis will have oversight of the 50 schools located in Japan, Okinawa, Korea and Guam that serve more than 23,500 children of U.S. military and eligible Department of Defense civilian personnel families stationed throughout the Pacific theater.
Prior to this assignment, Dr. Curtis was assigned to DoDEA’s Domestic Dependent Elementary and Secondary Schools and the Department of Defense Dependents Schools-Cuba (DDESS/DoDDS-Cuba), headquartered in Peachtree City, Ga., serving approximately 26,000 students in 65 schools in seven U.S. states and Cuba. She served as the DDESS/DoDDS-Cuba Deputy Director for Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment from July 2009 – August 2013 and as the Interim Director from May 2011-October 2012. Her efforts and knowledge in curriculum attained increased student achievement for DoDEA’s domestic schools.
Dr. Curtis has served in DoDEA for more than 27 years and has worked at nearly every level of the school system. She began her career with DoDEA in 1986 at Smith Elementary School in Baumholder, Germany where she taught first grade. Dr. Curtis became a school administrator three years later at Spangdahlem Elementary/Middle School where she served as the assistant principal from 1989 – 1996. She continued to serve as an administrator at SHAPE Elementary School in Belgium where she was the school principal from 1996-2000. During this time, SHAPE Elementary School was recognized with a Blue Ribbon School award.
In 2000, Dr. Curtis was selected as the Assistant Superintendent of DoDEA’s Brussels District and one year later became the District Superintendent. In 2002, she became the Superintendent of DoDEA’s Isles District where she supervised and provided educational support to schools in England, Iceland, the Azores, Bahrain, Belgium, Germany, and the Netherlands. From 2006-2009, Dr. Curtis served as the Deputy Director of DoDDS Europe, overseeing DoDEA’s school operations throughout Europe, serving 36,000 students in 81 schools across Europe.
DoDEA Director, Ms. Marilee Fitzgerald, commented on Dr. Curtis’ experience and background with DoDEA schools.
“Dr. Curtis truly understands the DoDEA school system and has in-depth experience with the unique educational needs of military connected students,” she said. “From her past boots-on-the-ground experience in the classroom to her strategic vision in senior leadership positions, her background and know-how will serve our students, families and communities in the Pacific.”
“Dr. Curtis is a forward-thinking education leader,” Ms. Fitzgerald added. “Her support and efforts to embed a strong focus on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) across the curriculum in all of our domestic schools are an example. She was also an early proponent and strong advocate of digital learning, e-readers, and other research-based practices that promote high student achievement for all students,” Ms. Fitzgerald said.
Dr. Curtis is excited about her new opportunity, especially the chance to promote 21st century teaching and learning environments and practices.
“It is indeed an honor and a privilege to have the opportunity to lead the DoDDS Pacific and DDESS Guam schools,” said Dr. Curtis. “Through the years my commitment to the students of our military families has always been my professional and personal priority. I look forward to incorporating 21st Century Skills and STEM into our schools in the Pacific and all DoDEA schools as well as increasing partnerships with the military and various universities. I am confident that with our Pacific staff’s continued commitment and dedication we will strengthen and promote the partnership with our military families and provide a world class education to each student.”
Prior to joining DoDEA Dr. Curtis, a native of Indiana, taught in in Fort Wayne and Australia. She earned her Bachelor of Science Degree in Elementary Education at Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana and went on to earn two Master's Degrees from Indiana University at Fort Wayne in School Administration and in Elementary Education with a concentration in Reading and Special Education. In 2006, she earned her Doctorate in Educational Leadership at Argosy University in Sarasota, Florida.
She is an active member of Phi Delta Kappa (PDK), the American Association of School Administrators (AASA), and the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD). She has served as President and Treasurer of the PDK overseas chapters.
Dr. Curtis’ honors and awards include the ASCD Outstanding Educational Leader, the Phi Delta Kappa Educational Leader, and the European Congress of American Parents, Teachers, and Students (ECAPTS) Principal of the Year.
Dr. Curtis will assume her new duties in September.
DoDEA consists of the Department of Defense Dependents Schools located overseas, and the Department of Defense Domestic Dependent Elementary and Secondary Schools located in the U.S. and its territories and possessions. DoDEA provides education to eligible DoD military and civilian dependents from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade. DoDEA also provides support and resources to Local Education Activities throughout the U.S. that serve children of military families.