Ada G. Debien
Antilles Consolidated District
Ada Debien is currently teaching 4th Grade at Roosevelt Roads Elementary School, Puerto Rico. She holds a Master of Arts in Education, with an emphasis in English as a Second Language, from the University of Phoenix. Ada comes from a family of educators. She has nine aunts who are teachers. A parent gave Ada a sign that says, "De este salon salen los mejores estudiantes de Puerto Rico," which means, "The best students in Puerto Rico walk out this classroom's doorway." This sign always reminds Ada of who she is and her purpose in life. Ada provides her students the opportunities to acquire the tools they need to be life-long learners and to leave her classroom feeling successful in their accomplishments and personal commitments to help others.
Lorri M. Blanchard
Lorri Blanchard teaches Multi-Media Technology to 6th-8th graders at Faith Middle School, Fort Benning, Georgia. She holds a Master of Arts in Middle Grades Education from Columbus State University. During her 17 years in education, she has taught music, been a choral director, a school web site designer, and a multi-media club sponsor. Lorri states that her father had the greatest influence in her decision to become a teacher. Her earliest memories are of him telling her the importance of getting a good education. Lorri believes she is a facilitator of learning as she provides the tools and foundation. It is up to the child to take and develop those tools into lifelong lessons for learning.
Kirsten D. Downey
Kirsten Downey is currently teaching 5th Grade at Andersen Elementary School, Andersen Air Force Base, Guam. She holds a Master of Education in Instructional Technology from Kent State University. Kirsten believes that teaching is one of the most important careers a person can choose. She states, "A teacher has the responsibility to impart knowledge, instill values, and influence the attitudes of every student in his or her classroom that will last a lifetime. Very few professions offer such challenges or such great rewards."Kirsten volunteers weekends at the Guam animal shelter and coordinates fund-raisers for Guam Animals in Need.
Sharon D. Adinolfi
New York/Virginia District
Sharon Adinolfi is currently teaching English, Drama, and Video to 9-12th Grade students at Quantico Middle High School in Quantico, Virginia. She is a graduate of Mary Washington College. Sharon believes that we must keep students engaged in their learning. She states, "We must compete for their attention and interest. It is no longer good enough to just lecture, read, and test. The students must be able to see practical applications for their learning. We can learn from our students. Students enjoy seeing their teachers as learners and enjoy teaching their teachers. We need to be open to the idea that we are all teachers and learners. The big desk is gone. Come out from behind the desk or lectern and dare to engage in the joy of learning with our students."
North Carolina District
Maryann Williams is a School Guidance Counselor for grades K-4 at Holbrook Elementary School, Fort Bragg, North Carolina. She received her Masters in Guidance and Counseling from Campbell University. Maryann believes in keeping the 'magic' in teaching. "There is magic when a child learns to write her name or when a child reads his first book or discovers for herself how to complete an electrical circuit. As the teacher, you are the magician. You perform the magic. You put a smile on a child's face when there is none." Three years ago, Maryann started Club USA for students who have a deployed parent. She feels this club has been one of the timeliest and meaningful contributions she has made during her career as an educator.
South Carolina/Fort Stewart District
Karen Twitty teaches 5th Grade at Brittin Elementary School, Fort Stewart, Georgia. She holds a Master of Science in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Kansas. Karen believes that schools and communities must work together to extend the boundaries of the traditional classroom and provide more meaningful life and learning experiences. "She contributes to the entire school and military community through her extensive work in the Family Support Program, especially important during the school's near total deployment of sponsors to Iraq during the war. Karen Twitty is an excellent example of all things that are right with American education today," states her principal.