Department of Defense Education Activity

Dr. Youlanda Washington says goodbye to DoDEA


PEACHTREE CITY, GA — May 29, 2020 — Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) Americas Region bids farewell to Dr. Youlanda Washington, the Kentucky Community Superintendent serving Fort Campbell and Fort Knox, after more than four decades of service to educating military-connected students.

“We celebrate the four decades plus of Dr. Washington’s exemplary dedication to military-connected students,” said Dr. Judith Minor, the DoDEA Americas Director for Student Excellence. “As a military child herself, her legacy of giving back to her community is one we honor today. Her mantra of “Doing all things in love” is one we should all strive to live by. Dr. Washington, you will be missed, but certainly not forgotten.”

A native of Dothan, Alabama, Dr. Washington grew up in a military family with her father serving in the U.S. Army while her mother was an educator. In her sophomore year, she moved to Fort Knox, Kentucky, where she attended and graduated from Fort Knox Middle High School.

“My dad raised us to serve the military,” said Dr. Washington. “He taught me that the Soldier, lived to protect and defend as well as care for the needs of the family. He told me as I was leaving for college that I am sending you to college to get an education and then you will return to the military.”

When she was graduating from college, Dr. Washington let her dad know she embraced his vision, she made it her own and would live out the vision to serve the Soldier by educating the military-connected student.

Dr. Washington serves as the Kentucky community superintendent overseeing ten DoDEA schools located on Fort Campbell and Fort Knox serving more than 5,100 students since 2017.

Prior to that assignment, she was the principal of Scott Middle School at Fort Knox. She served as the principal of Pierce Elementary School at Fort Knox. In 2003, she was selected as one of the minority candidates to serve in Kentucky’s first Minority Superintendent Internship program and served as an assistant superintendent in Oldham County Schools in Kentucky. She also taught 6th grade for 16 years at Macdonald Middle School at Fort Knox where she was the speech and debate coach from 1976 to 1992.

She was recognized as the Fort Knox Teacher of the Year and finalist for Kentucky Middle School Teacher of the Year in 1989. During her tenure at Pierce Elementary School, Dr. Washington was recognized as the finalist for the State of Kentucky Elementary Principal of the Year in 2000.

Dr. Washington’s education includes a Bachelor of Science degree, a Master’s of Arts, and a Rank I from Western Kentucky University. In 2002, she earned her Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) from the University of Louisville. In 2004, she was awarded the Morphet Dissertation Award for the Outstanding Dissertation of the Year entitled, “Women in School Leadership: A Study of Female Superintendents in Kentucky.”

She authored several articles related to quality management and quality leadership. Her research focused on the role of a superintendent and the role of women in leadership. She has also produced educational videotapes focused on Cooperative Learning. Her publications have been presented at the American Educational Research Association (AREA) conferences and have been published in the Journal of Women in Educational Leadership.

Dr. Washington is married to Joe I. Washington, Jr. They have two sons, Joe and Kevin, and three grandchildren. She enjoys writing and has authored two books. Dr. Washington will retire at the end of May.

As she prepares to retire, Dr. Washington said she will miss all of the educators, military personnel, children, and families that she has had the honor to work with over the years and looks forward to the future that lies ahead.

“It has been my great pleasure to serve you on the journey of my life,” said Dr. Washington. “I want them to continue to be amazing and gifted people because they have so much to offer the world. Settle for nothing less than their best. Finish strong and remember to do all things to love.”

Mr. Joshua Adams has been selected as the new Kentucky community superintendent and will start in the summer.