Bavaria District Teacher of The Year
Patch ES, 1st & 2nd Grades
Stefan Zappey teaches first and second grade Partial German Immersion at Patch Elementary School in Stuttgart, Germany. He received his B.S. in Education from the State University of New York, and his Masters of Education from Binghamton University.
Stefan has never stopped learning from and with the children in his class and truly listens to, as opposed to merely hearing, them. This coupled with engaging and challenging studies, child-centered and developmentally appropriate instruction, and high expectations, make his classroom an active, cooperative, and bustling learning community.
A colleague states, "Stefan Zappey goes above and beyond what is required of him as a teacher and he does it well. He is poised, articulate, and energetic". Another says, "Stefan's enthusiasm for working with children is infectious". His principal writes, "Mr. Zappey establishes a feeling of family in his class from the first day."
Karen Van Balen
Heidelberg District Teacher of The Year
Patrick Henry ES, 4th Grade
Karen Van Balen teaches fourth grade at Patrick Henry Elementary School in Heidelberg, Germany. She earned a B.A. at Penn State University, and both an M.S. in Business Administration and an M.S. in Computer Information Systems from Boston University.
Karen believes an outstanding teacher is extremely patient, caring, encouraging, and creates a comfortable, positive environment for the students. It's very important that learning is fun and exciting for the students and that they feel successful.
Her assistant principal says, "She works hard to create an environment that is conducive to learning and yet motivates children to be the best they can be." Another administrator states, "Ms. Van Balen is constantly seeking ways to improve educational practices and increase the learning of all students. A colleague notes that, "She consistently develops innovative ways to create a class atmosphere that is positive and conducive to learning."
Barbara J. Lee
Isles District Teacher of The Year
Lakenheath American HS, Math & Computer Science
Barbara J. Lee teaches Mathematics and Computer Science at Lakenheath American High School in the United Kingdom. She holds a BS in Education and an MS in Curriculum and Instruction from Emporia State University, Kansas and a Master of Education in Special Education from University of Maryland. She earned her Doctorate in Educational Administration at Capella University in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Barbara states, "It is important that our schools prepare all students to identify, analyze, and resolve problems as they arise; to increase their ability to respond and cope in a flexible manner with change; to develop character, which serves as the firm basis for sound judgment and considered decision making; and to enter the community as informed and educated citizens who are capable of living and working as independent and productive adults."
A colleague says, "Barbara embodies the best characteristics of an educator. She can teach a wide range of subjects and is devoted to sharing her knowledge with any and all levels of our student body and faculty." A parent states, "She has a positive, never fail attitude that is contagious with the children." An administrator says, "Her greatest strength is in the way she teaches leadership and responsibility."
Jacqueline M. Gustaferro
Kaiserslautern District Teacher of The Year
Wetzel ES, Language Arts Reading Specialist & Literacy Coach
Jacqueline Gustaferro is a Language Arts Reading Specialist and Literacy Coach at Wetzel Elementary School in Baumholder, Germany. She earned her B.S. in Education from Northeastern University in Boston, and both a Masters of Education in Curriculum Development Leadership and an Educational Specialist degree in Curriculum Development from National-Louis University in Evanston, IL.
Jacqui believes that she is successful when she's not needed and children have come to see that they can control their own learning. They can stretch themselves beyond the limits of the basic cognitive activities. When children feel safe enough to know that they are all working together as a community of learners, to make the most of individual learning styles and abilities within an atmosphere of acceptance, encouragement and respect for uniqueness - then Jacqui knows she has succeeded as an educator.
Her principal says, "Through her proactive leadership, the excitement of learning has spread beyond the walls of the parent center (she created within the school), and into the entire Wetzel community. Much as she did in her classroom, she has helped create a school environment that encourages everyone to take risks and excel." A colleague states, "Stepping into Mrs. Gustaferro's classroom is an experience that one doesn't forget. Mrs. Gustaferro incorporates relevance into her classroom by bringing the outside world in through research, investigation, peer-group management, and an atmosphere where children develop an understanding of all members of the class."
Vicki L. O'Brien
Mediterranean District Teacher of The Year
Livorno Unit School, PE & Health
Vicki O'Brien obtained her BS in Education from Indiana University and her MA in Educational Psychology from the University of Oklahoma. She currently teaches PE, Health, and ESL at the Livorno Unit School in Italy.
Vicki believes you must teach the whole child; emotionally, physically, socially, academically, and morally, in order to build confidence and prepare students for the workplace and contributing citizenship. She makes every effort to motivate her students to want to stay physically active and make healthy lifestyle choices by participating in school-wide events that they help coordinate and plan. She integrates technology by using heart rate monitors, fitness software programs, and pedometers.
A parent writes, "Ms. O'Brien has a talent for infusing the academic requirements of her classes with the practical benefits of the information she imparts. The attribute that makes her truly special as a teacher, though, is the fact that she does it all with compassion and understanding." Her principal states, "She is a professional and dedicated educator that takes teaching and involvement with her school and her students to new heights." The school nurse says, "I had worked with many other physical education teachers, and had taught health in both elementary and high school settings, but I had never seen anyone as prepared, knowledgeable or as inspirational."