Georgia/Alabama District Teacher of The Year
Dexter ES, PE
Ms. Koon has 34 years of teaching experience; 28 of those have been teaching in DoDEA schools at Ft. Benning, Georgia. She has been teaching physical education at Dexter Elementary School for over twenty years. Prior to coming to DoDEA, Ms. Koon taught gymnastics to a wide range of students at Columbus Gymnastics Academy and Physical Education, grades 5-12 in the Muscogee County School System.
Ms. Koon graduated from Auburn University with a Bachelor of Science in Health and Physical Education. She earned her Master of Science in Health and Physical Education from Georgia Southwestern University. Ms. Koon is fluent in Spanish and sign language.
Ms. Koon believes in an "active learning style with a sense of purpose to achieve health related fitness and physical competence". She focuses on cooperation among students, teamwork skills, and encourages students to support each other. Ms. Koon uses formative assessments, observations and evaluations to make curriculum and instructional revisions in order to meet individual student needs. Before school Ms. Koon invites the students and their families, pets included, to participate in a before-school physical education program to ensure that everyone develops physically active lifestyles.
Kentucky District Teacher of The Year
Fort Campbell Schools, English Language Arts
Ms. Schultz-von Hawker has 30 years of teaching experience. For 22 of those years she has been teaching at DoDEA schools. Ms. Schultz-von Hawker has worked for the past two years in Fort Campbell Schools with 9th-12th graders in Resource English Language Arts and Learning Strategies and with students in Pre-K -5th grade who are Emotionally Impaired (E.I.) and/or have specific Learning Disorders (L.D.). She also taught at SHAPE American Middle and High School and Patch American High School.
In addition, Ms. Schultz-von Hawker worked within the Stuttgart District Schools as a Pre-K-12th grade Behavioral Management Specialist, District ADHD Assessor; Exceptional Family Member Program Liaison, and Family Advocacy Case Management Team Representative. Prior to joining DoDEA, she worked with Resource and Self-contained E.I. 7th-9th graders at Virginia Beach City Public Schools and was a counselor, Assistant and Camp Director for Loudoun County Parks and Recreation in Virginia.
Ms. Schultz-von Hawker graduated from James Madison University with a Bachelor of Science in Emotional Disturbances and Elementary Education. She went on to earn her Master of Education from National Lewis University. She received a Master of Business Administration with an emphasis in Health Care from American InterContinental University.
In the classroom, Ms. Schultz-von Hawker's teaching focuses on preparing students for real world experiences through academics. She believes that learning should be fun but also provide meaningful real world applications. Ms. Schultz-von Hawker uses differentiated instruction to tailor her teaching to each individual student's learning style.
Lynn Magalong Lowe
New York/Virginia/Puerto Rico District Teacher of The Year
Ms. Lowe has 25 years of teaching experience. For 22 of those years she has been a teacher at Quantico Middle/High School in DoDEA's New York, Virginia and Puerto Rico District. She has taught a variety of subjects including history, science, math, and economics. She also spent two summers teaching 4th-8th grade summer enrichment courses. Prior to coming to DoDEA, Ms. Lowe taught at Woodbridge High School in Prince William County, Virginia.
Ms. Lowe graduated from Virginia Polytechnic and State University in Blacksburg, Virginia with a Bachelor of Science in Horticulture and Biology. She received her degree in Finite Math and Computer technology from Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) in Woodbridge, Virginia. She received her teaching license in Biology, Earth and Space Science, History, General Science and General Mathematics from George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. Ms. Lowe earned her Master of Liberal Studies in Human Genetics with an emphasis on Characteristics and Needs of the Middle School Child and Middle School Curriculum from Mary Washington College in Fredericksburg, Virginia.
As a former DoDEA student herself, Ms. Lowe's philosophy of teaching and teaching style is a reflection of the lessons she learned from her teachers while she attended DoDEA schools. She stresses an organized, structured classroom, responsibility, and accountability as important attributes for success. Ms. Lowe also believes that teachers should be flexible and willing to adapt their teaching style to each student's individual needs.
North Carolina District Teacher of The Year
Irwin IS, Special Education
Ms. Williamitis has 11 years of teaching experience. She has been teaching 5th and 6th grade special education classes for the past three years at Irwin Intermediate School, Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Prior to teaching with DoDEA, Ms. Williamitis was an Exceptional Children's Facilitator and designed and implemented special education programs for six learning communities at Scotland County High School in Scotland County, North Carolina. She was also a Case Manager, Special Education and Inclusion Teacher and taught Math, English, and Study Skills at Jack Britt High School in Cumberland County, North Carolina. As a Special Education Teacher at Seventy-First High School in Cumberland County, Ms. Williamitis taught Life Skills Math, Pre-Algebra and Algebra A&B.
Ms. Williamitis received her Associate of Arts in General Education from Edison Community College. She graduated from Methodist College (now Methodist University) with a Bachelor of Science in Special Education. She received her Master of Arts in Education from East Carolina University. Ms. Williamitis also earned a Master in School Administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Ms. Williamitis firmly believes that it is the responsibility of educators to prepare their students for a future of diversity, which demands the ability to learn and acquire new skills. She believes in equipping students with a "love of learning, an enthusiasm for acquiring new skills, and the ability to function and work fluidly in organizations that will demand interdependence of members who must cooperate and contribute to their goals."
South Carolina/Fort Stewart/DoDDS Cuba District Teacher of The Year
Kessler ES, Educational Technologist
Mr. Finley has 22 years of teaching experience. He has been teaching within DoDEA schools for 14 years. For the past nine years Mr. Finley has been the Educational Technologist at Kessler Elementary School at Fort Stewart, Georgia. He also was the ET for DoDEA schools in the Kaiserslautern District, Germany and the School Complex Computer Coordinator at Daegu American School, Korea. Prior to coming to DoDEA Mr. Finley taught 5th grade at Clarke Elementary School in Killeen, Texas.
Mr. Finley earned a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education with a Math Option from Montana State University. He received his Master in Education Administration from Grand Canyon University.
As a teacher Mr. Finley believes that it is his job to help students acquire a desire to seek answers to things that they might not understand. Working as an Educational Technologist allows Mr. Finley to incorporate 21st century skills into his teaching. This enables his students to make real-world connections as they learn about the latest software applications, computer hardware, and new areas in computer technology.