Skip to main content

DoDEA Announces 2018 Teacher of the Year

For Immediate Release — May 19, 2017 | HQ
: Director, Communications | 571-372-0613
: Deputy Director, Communications | 571-372-0614

Kara Fernandez

ALEXANDRIA, VA — May 19, 2017 — Delalio Elementary School 3rd grade and Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) teacher Kara Fernandez has been selected as the 2018 Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) Teacher of the Year.

DoDEA Director, Mr. Thomas M. Brady, was at Delalio Elementary School at Camp Lejeune, NC, to deliver the news to Ms. Fernandez and spoke to her teaching style and educational philosophy.

"Ms. Fernandez brings a wealth of knowledge and energy to her teaching, infusing technology and STEM-related activities into all of her lessons," Mr. Brady said. "Ms. Fernandez grew up as a military-connected child and she brings an understanding of the resiliency DoDEA students bring to the classroom. Risk-taking is an essential component of learning in her classroom, knowing that failure is a part of learning. One of her belief statements is that she wants her students to 'fail their way to success' as a way of building perseverance."

Mr. Brady also commented on Ms. Fernandez's educational philosophy which is critical to her success in the classroom.

"Ms. Fernandez's educational philosophy is grounded in the belief that students should have opportunities to demonstrate their understanding through real world experiences that bring learning to life. Every lesson she teaches is embedded with 21st Century skills that provide her students opportunities to communicate their beliefs and ideas and gives them a voice in their education," said Mr. Brady. "Ms. Fernandez provides her students with chances to think critically about the world around them and the potential positive impact they could have as citizens. She strongly believes in design thinking and providing students with hands-on learning opportunities that allows them to create and to develop innovative solutions to problems. DoDEA is extremely fortunate to have her in the classroom," he added.

Ms. Fernandez earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education and Special Education from Towson University and went on to earn a Master's of Education with a Specialization in Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment from Walden University. She is an accomplished and award-winning National Board Certified Teacher. She has helped establish programs in her schools including Girls on the Run, Global Cardboard Challenge, Science Olympiad, and the STEM Carnival. In addition to being selected as the 2018 DoDEA Teacher of the Year, Ms. Fernandez is also in the running as a finalist for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching.

The DoDEA Teacher of the Year Program recognizes and honors exemplary Pre-K, through high school teachers. The process begins at the nomination level where teachers may be nominated by peers, administrators, parents, students or community members. Each District Teacher of the Year is selected by a district panel using specified criteria to review District teacher of the Year applications. Eight teachers were named District Teacher of the Year for 2018. Each District Teacher of the Year is invited to apply for the DoDEA Teacher of the Year.

Along with the public recognition and the award, Ms. Fernandez will gain entry into the National Teacher of the Year application pool, and will be recognized by the President at a future event at The White House. Ms. Fernandez will also attend the National Teacher of the Year Conference and participate in the Council of Chief of State School Officers (CCSSO)-sponsored Teacher of the Year events.

The year of service for the 2018 Teacher of the Year will begin on January 1, 2018 and run through December 2018. The selection is made months before the term begins to allow the DoDEA candidate and other candidates from the 50 states time to participate in the National Teacher of the Year program which selects a finalist in December. The current (2017) DoDEA Teacher of the Year's term runs through the end of December 2017.

A complete listing of this year's recipients is listed on the next page. Additional information about DoDEA's Teacher of the Year Program, including point of contact, may be found on our web site.

DoDEA plans, directs, coordinates, and manages Pre-Kindergarten through 12th grade education programs for school-aged children of Department of Defense personnel who would otherwise not have access to a high-quality public education. DoDEA schools are located in Europe, the Pacific, Western Asia, the Middle East, Cuba, the United States, Guam, and Puerto Rico. DoDEA also provides support and resources to Local Educational Activities throughout the U.S. that serve children of military families.


DoDEA District 2018 Teachers of the Year Recipients
(Listed alphabetically by last name)

2018 District TOYs District School Position
Kimberly  Deverick Pacific East John O. Arnn  ES Kindergarten
Kara Fernandez Americas  Mid-Atlantic Delalio ES 3rd  Grade
Erin  Goodfellow Europe South Vicenza ES 4th  Grade
Shawna James Europe West Lakenheath ES 3rd  Grade
Kenneth  Jankowski Americas  Southeast Ft. Campbell  HS German, MUN,  World History
Rebecca Lentz Pacific West Daegu American  School Math &  AVID
Tricia  Surinak, Ed.D. Europe East Ansbach MS/HS Social Studies
Erika Wootton Pacific South Kubasaki HS Spanish, Music  (Piano)

DoDEA HQ Office of Communications

4800 Mark Center Dr.
Alexandria, VA 22350-1400

The DoDEA Communications Office initiates and manages DoDEA's communications and outreach efforts worldwide. The office coordinates press relations, internal information programs and communication with students, parents, teachers, school administrators and the public.

The HQ Communications Office:

Issues news releases and media advisories about DoDEA initiatives, employees and programs Produces video and television promotional and informational products marketed worldwide Maintains the DoDEA web site Designs printed promotional and informational material and graphic artwork to accompany publications, promotions and initiatives

Area Communications Offices: