DoDEA Teacher of the Year
Teacher of the Year for Bavaria District, DoDEA Europe
Vilseck High School, Germany
Daniele Massey teaches Algebra I to students at Vilseck High School in Vilseck Germany. This is her first DoDEA teaching position. Massey is a military spouse and accompanied her husband to Vilseck in 2006. Prior to moving, she taught at Fayetteville Technical Community College in Fayetteville, N.C. She is a graduate of Eastern Michigan University, where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Secondary Education and Mathematics and continued her education at Central Missouri State University, earning a Master of Science Degree in College Student Personnel Administration.
Massey believes in developing and fostering personal connections with students, parents and community members to help students achieve success. Massey co-teaches Algebra I using a Flipped Mastery approach to teaching where she says “the students take ownership of their learning.”
Outside of school Massey dedicates her time to volunteering in the community through various events and clubs. Massey and her husband, Major Adrian Massey, have two daughters.
Sylvia Patrick is currently a 6th grade science teacher at Ft. Rucker Elementary School in Ft. Rucker, Ala. She has spent 25 years educating the children of our military families. Patrick has taught in Ft. Riley, Kan. and Ft. Richardson, Alaska. This is her 22nd year at Ft. Rucker Elementary School.
Patrick graduated in Jan. 1983 from Christopher Newport University in Virginia with a B. A. in Elementary Education. She received a Master of Education (gifted) from Troy University in Alabama.
Patrick grew up as a military child and was a military spouse. She understands the unique life-style and needs of her students and families. Her students are her priority, and she believes it is a privilege to help develop their young minds and character. She enjoys challenging her students with innovative lessons and activities, building their confidence, and making them feel successful.
Patrick has twin daughters of whom she is very proud. Amanda has also become a science teacher, and Andrea is a Captain in the United States Air Force. In her spare time, Patrick enjoys reading, traveling, and many outdoor activities.
Teacher of the Year for Kentucky District, DoDEA Americas
Fort Knox High School (FKHS), Kentucky
Felice Wahlberg has been an educator at Fort Knox High School (FKHS) at Fort Knox, Ky. since 1979 and is very proud to say that she is also an alumnus of Fort Knox High School, Class of 1975.
Wahlberg graduated from Mary Washington College in Fredericksburg, Va., in 1979 with a Bachelor of Art degree in history and a certificate to teach grades 7—12. She earned her Master of Art degree in Secondary Education and a Rank I in Secondary Counseling through Western Kentucky University, in Bowling Green, Ky.
Wahlberg has worked in various capacities at Fort Knox High School. She began her career as a teacher’s aide and full-time substitute and was also a counselor for grades 9 and 10 for four years. But her true love was being in the classroom and she has taught social studies for 31 years. Wahlberg has primarily taught Advanced Placement (AP) United States History, United States History and United States Government. In addition, she has taught AVID and College Entrance Prep.
While teaching at Fort Knox High School, Wahlberg has been involved in numerous activities. She coached cheerleading for ten years and had the first high school coed team in the state of Kentucky in 1986. After cheerleading, she coached the dance team for 14 years and her teams regularly qualified for national competitions. In addition, Wahlberg has been a senior class sponsor, assistant play director, academic team advisor, Students Against Drunk Driving (SADD) advisor, and she is the current advisor for Fort Knox High School Chapter of the National Honor Society.
Wahlberg loves teaching at FKHS and feels a special bond with her students because she grew up as an “army brat.” She maintains correspondence with students long after graduation and has attended college graduations, weddings, and baby showers for many of her former students. Wahlberg believes that teaching is a lifelong commitment that doesn’t end with high school graduation. She feels that teaching is one of the most important professions because of the impact teachers can make in the lives of students.
Teacher of the Year for New York/Virginia/Puerto Rico District, DoDEA Americas
Dahlgren School, Virginia
Maureen Holt teaches students in grades Pre-K through 8th in the subjects of social studies, art, drama, creative thinking and humanities. She has 29 years of teaching experience with 12 of those years spent serving students in DoDEA schools. She is a leader at her school, serving as both the Continuous School Improvement Team Chairperson and Safety Officer. In addition, she is a valued member of the Advancement Via Individual Determination, (AVID) site team, Crisis Team, and Middle School Team.
Holt earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Art Education, Pre-K – 12 from Longwood University in Va. in 1983. She began teaching middle school art, and then moved on to Special Education for three years before returning to art in the elementary setting. Holt continued her education by earning her Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction from George Mason University, Fairfax, Va. in 2001.
During her career with DoDEA, she has taught many different electives in addition to art. She has written several original plays which her drama classes have performed. Holt said her certification in history has been the fulfillment of a life-long dream. Her strength is combining history and art with every other curricular area to motivate her students to want to learn more.
Holt spends the majority of her free time serving the small community in which she lives, working on her house, and taking care of her beagles. She is a former member of the town council and now serves as a member of the Planning Commission. She tries to instill a sense of duty and citizenship in her students which she hopes will have a lasting effect on their lives.
Marnie Louise Albertson
Teacher of the Year for North Carolina District, DoDEA Americas
6th through 8th grade Read 180
Brewster Middle School, North Carolina
Marnie Louise Albertson teaches 6th through 8th grade Read 180 at Brewster Middle School, on Camp Lejeune, N.C.
As a native of North Carolina, Marnie Albertson was raised on the east coast, near Camp Lejeune. After graduating from East Carolina University in 1993 with a degree in Middle School Education, she worked for five years in Craven County, North Carolina as a Language Arts, Social Studies and Math teacher.
On the advice of a relative, Marnie applied to the Camp Lejeune school system in 1999 and was offered a position at Brewster Middle School as an Instructional Support teacher for Reading and Math. Albertson worked with 6th and 7th grade for several years in this capacity and then taught 7th grade Language Arts for many more years.
In 2009, Albertson began teaching Read 180 and truly found her niche. Although she has always loved teaching, helping students improve their reading skills has always been her passion. Albertson believes all students have the capacity to learn and improve their skills and that as educators it is our responsibility to supply our students with the very best education possible. It is not enough to impart information, we must teach our students to believe in their own ability to learn and grow.
Albertson and her mother, Judy, enjoy life at their home on Topsail Island, North Carolina. Her hobbies include swimming, visiting with family, and of course… reading.
Teacher of the Year for South Carolina/Fort Stewart/ DoDDS-Cuba School District, DoDEA Americas
Charles Cotesworth Pinckney Elementary School, South Carolina
Evetta Johnson is a 3rd grade teacher at Charles Cotesworth Pinckney Elementary School at Fort Jackson, S. Carolina. Johnson has been teaching for twenty years, fourteen years with the Department of Defense Education Activity and the remaining years in South Carolina public schools. She has completed post graduate work from several universities; University of South Carolina, University of San Diego, University of Maryland, and Converse College.
She received a Bachelor of Science degree from the College of Charleston, in Charleston, South Carolina in 1992. In 1997, she completed a Masters of Science degree in Special Education-Learning Disability, from the University of Charleston, Charleston, South Carolina.
Her strong belief that all children can learn influenced her decision in pursing certification in Special Education-Learning Disability. Johnson believes that the same strategies utilized in a self-contained special needs classroom are some of the same effective strategies that can be used to teach struggling, at risk students in a regular education environment. She believes the least restrictive environment will empower the students to set high expectations for themselves and enhance their self-confidence. Her challenge is designing learning experiences that will complement students’ strengths.
In addition to being a 1996 Milken National Educator award recipient, Johnson was recently honored as the 2012-2013 South Carolina/Fort Stewart/DoDDS-Cuba District Teacher of the Year, for her contributions in education.
Johnson is married to Karl, retired Air Force and they have two adult children. She also is the grandmother of two wonderful granddaughters. Outside of her professional interests, she loves spending time with family, cooking, reading, and shopping. The Johnsons reside in Sumter, South Carolina with her youngest sibling Thomas.
Christopher S. Thomas
Teacher of the Year for Heidelberg District, DoDEA Europe
Wiesbaden Middle School, Germany
Christopher S. Thomas is currently an 8th grade science teacher at Wiesbaden Middle School in Weisbaden, Germany. Born in Texas, Thomas grew up and attended school in Tennessee. He worked his way through college, earning his bachelor’s degree in 1998 and master’s degree in education in 2000, both from Old Dominion University.
Thomas’ service to DoDEA began as an intern in the Baumholder community in 1999, followed by a professional position at Seoul American Middle School from2000-2006. During this time, he separated from DoDEA for one school year to return to the states, working for Ann Arbor Public Schools in Michigan, and marrying the love of his life, Christie Morrison. Following his return to Seoul, Thomas and his family transferred to Wiesbaden, Germany – first to Hainerberg Elementary School, and then Wiesbaden Middle School.
Thomas’ focus and passion has always been middle level education. His primary field is science, though he has taught numerous electives, AVID, social studies courses and math.
Thomas has been a proud member of the National Education Association since his pre-service experiences in the NEA Student Program. He is currently serving as the Wiesbaden Education Association President, and believes strongly in the collaborative power of association members and administration.
Thomas feels fortunate to have had the opportunity to serve military families and their children for the last 13 years. He feels that unique components of our military community allow for a supportive environment in which academic excellence is not only expected, but the norm.
Thomas’ family is a priority to him. He and his wife have three young children.
Teacher of the Year for Isles District, DoDEA Europe
Lakenheath Middle School, England
Jan Starnes is current the Physical Educator at Lakenheath Middle School, in Lakenheath, England. Year after year, Starnes produces higher learning gains and increases her students’ academic scores in a special program that she has created for at-risk students.
She takes pride in changing the students’ vision of their abilities which effects their motivation and this helps to develop their commitment in setting their goals as it increases self- confidence.
Starnes is from Portland, Ore., and has taught for 38 years in several curriculum areas. She volunteers her time before and after school as well as on the weekends to promote student success. Starnes’ firm, fair, and consistent program fosters and encourages at- risk students to succeed in and out of the classroom.
Her teaching philosophy includes the concept to engage the whole child, their parents and all immediate stakeholders in the learning process.
Teacher of the Year for Kaiserslautern District, DoDEA Europe
Ramstein High School, Germany
Michael Brust teaches mathematics at Ramstein High School, in Kaiserslautern, Germany. Brust believes strong teacher leader skills transcend a classroom, school, and district. Working with two teachers from schools in the district, Tim Kelly and Corey Sullivan, Brust put together a “flipped mastery” program for Algebra I that is being used and modeled throughout DoDEA. The “flipped mastery” model builds in the fact that students are in charge of their own learning and they strive to do well. Students feel successful and confident because of this work.
Brust has a vision for how he feels he can affect instruction for 21st century learners. He is continuing the flipped mastery concept through the high school math sequences and creating innovative multi-age, multi-level classrooms.
Brust met his wife, the former Amanda Lindeman, during his undergraduate studies at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio and is the father of three children, Owen, Emerson and Oliver. Brust went on to earn his Masters’ Degree in Mathematics in Education from Western Governor’s University while teaching in Lajes Field, Azores. Brust has been teaching throughout DoDEA for the last 12 years. He attributes his ability to give 110% in his career to his supportive wife and loving family.
Teacher of the Year for Mediterranean District, DoDEA Europe
David Glasgow Farragut Middle/ High School, Spain
Maribel Bastida teaches Spanish at David Glasgow Farragut Middle/ High School, in Rota, Spain. With 25 years of teaching experience, Bastidas taught for Virginia Public Schools and for DoDEA schools in Italy and Spain. Her Department of Defense career began 17 years ago when her husband was transferred overseas to Naples, Italy.
Bastidas graduated as a Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor’s degree in Education from Virginia Wesleyan College and received a Master’s of Humanities from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia. Bastidas was a recipient of the Sallie Mae Award for first year teachers in 1988 and was recognized as Virginia Beach Foreign Language Teacher of the Year in 1994.
Teaching students to respect and appreciate other cultures and to solve conflicts through communication are Bastidas’ ultimate goals as an educator. In addition, Maribel strives to promote a culture of collaboration and cooperation among teachers, parents and community members.
Bastidas and her husband have two children who were educated in the Department of Defense Education Activity system. She enjoys traveling with her family, meeting people from other cultures and dancing.
Jacob Dowdell Jr.
Teacher of the Year for Guam District, DoDEA Pacific
Andersen Elementary School, Guam
Jacob Dowdell Jr. teaches 3rd Grade at Andersen Elementary School on Andersen Air Force Base on the island of Guam. With 14 years of teaching experience, Jacob has taught for Normandy Public Schools, Fairfax County Public Schools, and DoDEA schools in Japan. He has been teaching for the Department of Defense Education Activity for 11 years.
Dowdell graduated from the University of Central Oklahoma with a Bachelor’s of Science Degree and received a Master’s of Public Administration Degree from Troy State University. Jacob serves as the Mentor Coordinator for Andersen Elementary School, Head Football coach for Guam High School, and Head soccer coach for Andersen Middle School.
Educating and equipping Dowdell Dynamos (his students) to be dynamic thinkers, who will change the world, is his passion. Dowdell works collaboratively with colleagues to infuse technology, differentiate instruction, and integrate 21st Century teaching and learning into every aspect of the learning environment.
Jacob is the proud father of Jacob, Olivia, and Jeylyn Dowdell. All three children are currently enrolled in DoDEA schools.
Dr. Kitara D. M. Jordan
Teacher of the Year for Japan District, DoDEA Pacific
Jack N. Darby Elementary School, Japan
Dr. Kitara D. M. Jordan has 18 years of teaching experience. Jordan joined DoDEA five years ago teaching kindergarten at Jack N. Darby Elementary School at Sasebo Naval Base in Sasebo, Japan. She lives in the Sasebo community with her husband, Paul and their son Joshua. Prior to coming to DoDEA, Jordan taught kindergarten, 1st, 2nd, 3rd grade, reading and math EIP (Early Intervention Program) at C. H. Gullatt Elementary School in Union City, Georgia. She was also the Primary Curriculum Support Teacher for Conley Hills Elementary School in East Point, Ga. Both schools are a part of the Fulton County Schools in Atlanta, Ga.
Upon graduating from A. E. Beach High School in Savannah, Ga., Jordan attended college at Fort Valley State College where she received two bachelor degrees (Bachelor of Business Administration in Business Management and Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education). She earned a degree in Master of Science in Elementary Education from Troy State University and received her Doctoral Degree in Child and Youth Studies from Nova Southeastern University. Jordan believes in the power of global communal educational environments. Jordan was honored as well as overwhelmed when told that she won this award. “I am living proof that a strong communal educational support system can truly change a child’s life when we take a vested interest in our students,” Jordan said.
Teacher of the Year for Korea District, DoDEA Pacific
Casey Elementary School, Korea
Tracy Stockdale has nine years teaching experience; seven of those with DoDEA. Stockdale began her DoDEA career as a sixth grade teacher at Hohenfels Elementary School in Hohenfels, Germany. At Hohenfels, she was the Continuous School Improvement (CSI) Co-Chair for four years, sponsored student council, and facilitated homework club.
She currently teaches first grade at Casey Elementary School, Dongducheon, Korea. Beyond her teaching responsibilities, Stockdale is the CSI Co-Chair at Casey. She is actively involved in the community as a choir member, CYSS Parent Advisory Council secretary, and military spouse.
Stockdale is a graduate of Cornell College, where she majored in Elementary Education and Psychology. After finishing her undergraduate studies, she earned a Masters in Human Relations Degree from the University of Oklahoma. As an Army wife, she feels a connection to military families. She works hard to get to know her students and families. She also feels that students learn best when there is a positive “home-school” partnership!
Ms. Stockdale and her husband, Travis, have two sons, Garrick and Gavin. When not at school, Stockdale enjoys spending time with her family, catching up with friends, traveling, and cooking.
Teacher of the Year for Okinawa District, DoDEA Pacific
Bechtel Elementary School, Okinawa
Eric Ebert joined DoDDS in 2000 as a sixth grade teacher at Yokota East Elementary. He also taught fourth and fifth grades at Cummings Elementary in Misawa, and fifth grade at E.C. Killin Elementary. This is his eighth year at Bechtel as the Educational Technologist. He began his teaching career in 1997 at M.K. Rawlings Elementary in Pinellas County, Florida. There Ebert taught fifth grade and later moved into a Technology Specialist position.
He served in the United States Marine Corps from 1990 to 1994 and was stationed on Okinawa as a military policeman. Much of his tour involved working with students as the Drug Abuse Resistance Education Officer for Bechtel, E.C. Killin and Zukeran elementary schools.
Ebert’s goal, and his platform in the competition for DoDEA Teacher of the Year, is preparing teachers to transition to a 21st century classroom.
“The teacher’s role will need to shift from the ‘dispenser of knowledge’ who takes an entire class through the same lesson at the same pace, to more of a 21st Century learning facilitator who guides students as they follow their own individualized education plan,” he said.
“With the right software and training, every single student could be actively engaged in learning the curriculum standards at their own pace, following their own interests, and developing ownership of their own learning,” Ebert said.
Ebert has a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from the University of South Florida and a Masters' Degree in Educational Technology from Northern Arizona University. He is married and the proud father of two boys.