2011 Teacher of the Year

Angelica L. Jordan
Heidelberg District Teacher of The Year
Mannheim ES, Spanish Immersion and Spanish FLES

Ms. Jordan has 15 years of teaching experience. She has been teaching Partial Spanish Immersion and Spanish FLES to 2nd and 3rd grade students at Mannheim Elementary School in Germany for the past six years. Prior to her assignment with DoDEA, Ms. Jordan taught for eight years at Countryside Elementary School in Edina, Minn. Ms. Jordan is a graduate of Concordia College in Moorhead, Minn., and earned her Masters of Arts in Education from Hamline University in St. Paul, Minn.

Ms. Jordan believes that effective teachers spend time building relationships with students, parents, colleagues, and administrators. "When I know a student's likes, dislikes, and interests, I can differentiate lessons," she said. By building an open and honest relationship with parents, I become a partner in education with the family. Building strong relationships with fellow colleagues and administrators allows us to plan together and share ideas so we can take advantage of each other's strengths. I believe the relationships I've fostered have enhanced my teaching and raised student achievement at Mannheim Elementary School."

DoDEA Americas

Kathy Henley
Georgia / Alabama District Teacher of the Year
Faith MS, Chinese Language

Ms. Henley teaches Chinese to middle school students at Faith Middle School, located at Ft. Benning, Ga. Prior to joining DoDEA, Ms. Henley was self-employed and involved in training Chinese instructors at the Morningside Chinese School in Columbus, Ga. Ms. Henley also established Chinese language programs in local high schools in the Columbus area and started two Chinese language programs at Columbus State University. She is a graduate of Christ's College, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature.

Ms. Henley firmly believes in the philosophy of positive expectations, with every student having the potential to shine. One of her 8th grade students writes, "Ms. Henley makes this (Chinese) class enjoyable for everyone. In Chinese I we have the students from the All 'A' Honor roll to the ones that may need the extra boost. Everyone in that class excels."

Another 8th grade student writes, "Because of all Ms. Henley's hard work and effort she has been putting into teaching Faith Middle School students about the Chinese language and culture, I will be attending Columbus High School's Chinese 2 program instead of going into Chinese 1 as a freshman. Without her, none of this would have been possible. She loves her job and I owe it all to her."

Jan Selvitelle
Kentucky District Teacher Of The Year
Scott MS, English

Ms. Selvitelle has 20 years of teaching experience, eight of which have been at Scott Middle School at Fort Knox, Ky., where she teaches English. Ms. Selvitelle has also taught English to Kentucky middle and high school students in Elizabethtown and Hodgenville. She received her Bachelor's and Master's of Arts degrees from Western Kentucky University.

"Outstanding teachers must embrace and model the characteristics of a good leader," says Ms. Selvitelle, about her philosophy of teaching. "A teacher must be a good leader - of students, parents, and colleagues - one who inspires loyalty and thinks carefully before making decisions. Having made a decision, however, a good teacher has the courage to stick to a decision that may be unpopular and, in response to new information, has the courage to reconsider or change directions if necessary."

Deborah Hudson Bailey
North Carolina District Teacher of The Year
Fort Bragg NC, Social Studies 

Ms. Bailey has 25 years of teaching experience, 13 of which have been in DoDEA Schools at Fort Bragg, N.C. Since 1997, she has taught 7th grade social studies at Albritton Junior High, 4th grade at McNair Elementary School, 7th-9th grades at Albritton Junior High, and 3rd grade at Murray Elementary School, all on Fort Bragg. Prior to joining DoDEA, Ms. Bailey taught 3rd and 4th grade students in Fayetteville and Hope Mills, N.C. She is a graduate of Fayetteville State University, where she earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Intermediate Education, and was awarded a Master of Arts in Education from the University of North Carolina at Pembroke.

Ms. Bailey's teaching philosophy is based on her belief that the teacher sets the tone for the classroom. "I believe that it is the responsibility of the teacher to be a positive role model in everything that he or she does," she said. "The teacher should know the standards that describe what is to be taught, and should then develop learning activities that engage and excite the students about learning. The teacher should know how to differentiate and to recognize and teach to the different learning styles of each student so that all students experience success."

Phyllis Smith
SC / Fort Stewart / DoDDS Cuba District Teacher of The Year
Reading and Math

Ms. Smith has 24 years of teaching experience, all with DoDEA schools on Fort Stewart, GA. She has taught 1st through 6th grade students in reading and math at both Diamond and Kessler Elementary Schools. She received her Bachelor's and Master's of Science Degrees in Early Childhood Education from Georgia Southern University.

Ms. Smith believes that, "teaching is a profession that is heaped with responsibilities and challenges, those who love it do not want to be anywhere else but with a group of children." She also believes that success in the classroom is founded in the teacher's acknowledgement of the individuality of each student. "I acknowledge and embrace the diversity of children and recognize that ultimately it is my job to ensure that learning is taking place. I guide students as they become equipped to be successful citizens of tomorrow."

Maria T. Napoli
New York / Virginia / Puerto Rico District Teacher of The Year
Antilles MS, English

Ms. Napoli has 32 years of teaching experience. For the past 23 years, she has been teaching English to students at Antilles Middle School, Fort Buchanan, Puerto Rico. Prior to joining DoDEA, Ms. Napoli taught special education students in New York City Public Schools and at Robinson School in San Juan, Puerto Rico. She earned her Bachelor of Science Degree in Early Childhood and Elementary Education from New York University and earned her Master's of Arts Degree in Education from New York University.

Ms. Napoli's teaching philosophy is guided by the principles of continuous learning and a focus on learning rather than instructing. "I consider teaching as a continuous learning process," she said. "I focus my teaching style on learning rather than just instructing - a delivery design model that is tuned into students' needs and the inclusion of character building throughout my teaching."

DoDEA Europe

Alina Rozanski
Bavaria District Teacher of The Year
Music and Social Studies

Ms. Rozanski has 10 years of teaching experience, and for the past 6 years, she has taught music and social studies to middle school students in Germany. Prior to joining DoDEA, Ms. Rozanski taught at Emerald Hills Elementary School in Bonney Lake, Wash. She is a graduate of the University of Washington with a bachelor's degree in Music Education and Vocal Performance and she received her Masters of Education in Curriculum and Instruction from Lesley University in Cambridge, Mass. She has also earned her National Board Certificate in Early/Middle Childhood Music.

Using her experience as a military child and identifying with her students' experiences of moving to new duty stations, desiring to "fit in" to a new school, and living in a foreign country, Ms. Rozanski brings music as a constant element to children's lives. "Music has been the constant in my own life," she said, "and my students deserve this same opportunity, for, as General Norman H. Schwartzkopf said, 'what a tragedy it would be if we lived in a world where music was not taught to children.'"

Anita Ann Hacker
Isles District Teacher of The Year
Language Arts and Social Studies

Ms. Hacker has 29 years of teaching experience. She has taught Language Arts and Social Studies to middle school students in DoDEA schools in Germany and England for 15 years. She has also taught the same subjects to middle school students in Texas. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Education from Emporia State University in Emporia, Kan., and her Master's of Education in Curriculum and Instruction from Louis University.

Ms. Hacker believes that curriculum standards need to change focus and be directed at globalization and the impact of specific regions. She has her students use technology, research, and an ever-widening base of knowledge to systematically explore, analyze, and synthesize information for long-term use. She also believes that improvement in problem-solving and written communications skills are essential to student achievement and success.

Micheline Eloise Huntley
Kaiserslautern District Teacher of The Year
Reading and Language Arts

Ms. Huntley has 36 years of teaching experience, and has taught reading and language arts to elementary school students in DoDEA schools in Japan and Germany for 23 years. Prior to joining DoDEA, she taught Kindergarten and 1st grade at Bladenboro Primary School in Bladenboro, N.C. She is a graduate of North Carolina A&T State University, earning her Bachelors and Masters of Science degrees in Early Childhood Education.

Ms. Huntley also recognizes the importance of preparing students for their role in a global environment. "My philosophy of teaching has always been to prepare the child to be a lifelong learner and a productive citizen in our global world," she said. I believe that children should be taught first to believe in themselves - we do this by providing them with a safe environment where they can be comfortable taking risks, solving problems, and feeling excited about the process as they learn to be independent thinkers and learners."

Cynthia Murr Watkins
Mediterranean District Teacher of The Year

Ms. Watkins has 10 years of teaching experience, six of which have been teaching at Vicenza Elementary School in Vicenza, Italy. Ms. Watkins also taught at Frankfurt International School, in Frankfurt, Germany, Padova International School in Padova, Italy and at Hollin Meadows Elementary School in Alexandria, Va. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland and received her Master of Education from National-Louis University.

Ms.Watkins' teaching philosophy is based on a holistic approach to teaching and learning. "This philosophy encompasses a child-centered approach which promotes the child's individuality, creative exploration and active involvement in his/her education," she said. I teach to the whole child, thereby addressing the intellectual, emotional, physical and social factors that influence children's learning and development and respecting the complexity of children's lives."

DoDEA Pacific

Suzette Nelson
Guam District Teacher of The Year
Language Arts & ESOL

Ms. Nelson has 27 years of teaching experience and has been teaching Language Arts and ESOL for the past 13 years in DoDEA schools in Guam at Andersen Elementary and Middle Schools. Prior to joining DoDEA, Ms. Nelson taught in schools in Guam and Washington state. She earned her Bachelor of Arts Degree from Viterboro University in La Crosse, Wis., and her Masters of Arts from the University of Guam.

Ms. Nelson demonstrates her philosophy of teaching by creating a workplace in her classroom where students wrestle with real-life problems. Ms. Nelson believes that students need to know how to analyze information, think critically, solve problems and work successfully in teams.

"I call it transformational education," she states. It takes the rote work off the desk and replaces it with thought-provoking tasks. It transforms the classroom into a modern day workplace where individuals and teams are challenged to identify resources, offer solutions or resolve problems. It empowers students to define what they know, ask meaningful questions, search systematically for answers and present their findings."

Michelle K. Foust
Japan District Teacher of The Year

Ms. Foust has 20 years of teaching experience. During the past 10 years she has taught 1st grade and math support to DoDEA students at The Sullivans School in Yokosuka, Japan. Prior to joining DoDEA, Ms.Foust taught 1st, 2nd, 1/2 Multi-age, and 4th grade students in Fayetteville, N.C. and 1st grade at Ft. Gulick, Panama. Ms. Foust earned her Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education from Fayetteville State University in North Carolina and earned her Master's of Science in Education specializing in Integrating Technology in the Classroom from Walden University.

Ms. Foust believes her mission as an educator is to provide an effective learning environment in which children obtain the necessary skills to become productive citizens. "We have an acute responsibility as educators to create an environment in which all children feel capable, competent, and connected to the community of learners," she said. "This is particularly important as we prepare our students to be citizens in a global environment - in a world where tomorrow's jobs don't even exist today."

Lori Diane Lundy
Korea District Teacher of The Year

Ms. Lundy has 27 years of teaching experience and has taught reading in DoDEA elementary schools in Germany and Korea for the past 20 years. Prior to joining DoDEA, Ms. Lundy taught in middle and elementary schools in Georgia and Florida.

She earned her Associate of Arts Degree from Manatee Community College and her Master's of Science Degree from Florida State University.

Ms. Lundy advocates for inclusion in the classroom. She believes a goal of the classroom teacher should be to create a learning environment which meets the needs of not only the regular education students, but more importantly the students who struggle with learning, who are not able to make good decisions about their behavior and those students whose family situations are less than optimal.

"Providing this environment comes about by managing classroom behavior in such a way that children feel safe to try new things and every child feels accepted by what they are accomplishing no matter what level they are on. Each day is a new start."

Ronald Michael Geist
Okinawa District Teacher of The Year
Instrumental Instructor

Mr. Geist has 30 years of teaching experience, 11 of which have been with DoDEA schools in Japan and Guam. He is presently a vocal and instrumental instructor at Kubasaki High School in Okinawa, Japan. He has also taught the same subjects to students at Zama American High School in Tokyo, Japan and at Andersen Middle School in Guam. Prior to joining DoDEA, Mr. Geist was a vocal and instrumental instructor at Von Tobel Middle School in Las Vegas, Nev.; Dededo Middle School in Guam, Morris School District, Warroad School District, and Waubun-White Earth-Ogema School District, all in Minnesota.

He received a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and a Bachelor of Arts in Music from Concordia College in Moorhead, Minn., and a Master's Degree in Educational Technology and Curriculum from Grand Canyon University. He received his Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from Francis Marion University and his Master of Arts Degree in Early Childhood Education from the University of Phoenix.

Mr. Geist believes teachers should be self-directed, enthusiastic educators with a passionate commitment to student development and the learning experience. "I strive to be a teacher that inspires, instead of demeans, a teacher who is committed to making a difference one child at a time, a teacher who wants to enhance the lives of other human beings, and a teacher who brings a high level of energy to their subject or program."