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PEACHTREE CITY, GA — September 27, 2011 — PEACHTREE CITY, GA - Dr. Linda Curtis, Acting Director and Area Superintendent for Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment for the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) Domestic Dependent Elementary and Secondary Schools (DDESS) and Department of Defense Dependents Schools, Cuba, (DoDDS-Cuba) announced today the names of each district's Teacher of the Year for 2012.

These teachers exhibit qualities and attributes of a high performing teacher," Dr. Curtis said. "Their commitment, dedication and professionalism have touched many, many students.  They are impacting our future generation." Those teachers are:               

  • Rebecca Hill, a teacher of gifted education at Maxwell Air Force Base Elementary/Middle School, Maxwell AFB, Alabama, in the Georgia/Alabama District;             
  • Tim Proskauer, a social studies teacher, at Antilles Middle School, at Fort Buchanan, Puerto Rico, in the New York/Virginia/Puerto Rico District;             
  • Tracey Fairfax, a third grade teacher at Patrick Kessler Elementary School at Fort Stewart, Georgia, in the South Carolina/Fort Stewart /DoDDS-Cuba District;             
  • Julia Goodrich, a second and third grade teacher at Gordon Elementary School, Fort Bragg, North Carolina, in the North Carolina District; and             
  • Geary Schwartz, an algebra teacher at Fort Campbell High School, Fort Campbell, Kentucky, in the Kentucky District.     

 "William Arthur Ward wrote, 'The great teacher inspires.' That is the best way I know how to describe the expert work of Becky Hill. She inspires students to reach higher and colleagues to differentiate," said Maxwell AFB ES/MS Principal Melissa Hayes. "Becky has the true heart of a great teacher." Mrs. Hill has been with DoDEA for nine years, since she came to Maxwell AFB Elementary/Middle School.  As a military wife, she also taught in Arizona, California, South Carolina, Florida and the Philippines at Clark AFB, in a variety of disciplines in kindergarten, 1st grade, 2nd grade and physical education. She majored in Early Childhood Education at the University of Alabama in Birmingham and graduated with her Bachelor's degree in Elementary Education from Arizona State University in Tempe, AZ.  She earned her Master's of Arts degree in Gifted Education from the University of South Alabama in Mobile, AL.  She and her husband, Kelly, have two daughters.

"Tim Proskauer is a special teacher, one of those who in my opinion was born to be an excellent teacher because he is caring, loving, patient, creative, energetic, and attentive not only with students but also with his colleagues and parents. Mr. Proskauer also demonstrates the highest level of professional commitment and competency in his work with students and colleagues," said Antilles Middle School (AMS) Principal Nancy Maldonado. "Tim's passion and positive attitude toward the art of teaching and children are reflected in the outstanding quality of his instruction in social studies and his involvement in the school improvement process that he has maintained at AMS." Mr. Proskauer has been with DoDEA for 12 years. He earned his Bachelor's of Arts degree in religious studies from Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut, in 1992. From 1992-1994, Mr. Proskauer worked with emotionally and behaviorally disordered children at the Brandon Residential Treatment Center in Natick, Maine. In 1994, he was accepted into the Pathways to Teaching Careers program at Lesley College in Cambridge, continued working in the Boston Public Schools and earned his Master's in Education degree in Special Education from Lesley. He then worked at two Seattle middle schools as a math/science/special education inclusion teacher. He and his wife, Maria, have four sons.              

"As a veteran and Army wife, Tracey Fairfax feels a true connection to military families. She applies her understanding of the culture of the school and the community to create and maintain a positive focus and open line of communication that allows for a student-centered vision. In addition to being in touch with the needs of students and parents, she is always searching for ways to improve upon the learning experiences of students and readily implements strategies to enhance the learning environment. She consistently implements strategies that creatively meet the different learning needs of her students and continuously shares her knowledge with faculty members," said Kessler Elementary School Assistant Principal Christie Cook. "Ms. Fairfax exemplifies a commitment to student achievement and is a natural selection for Teacher of the Year." Mrs. Fairfax is originally from Bartow, FL. After a stint in the U.S. Army, she earned her Bachelor's of Science degree in Business Administration from Fayetteville (N.C.) State University. She earned her Master's of Arts degree in Education from the University of South Carolina. Fairfax began her DoDEA career as a second grade teacher at West Point Elementary School, West Point, NY. She and her husband, Maj. Duane A. Fairfax, have a daughter and a son.               

 "Julia Goodrich is an outstanding teacher who exemplifies competence, connection, and character everyday in her classroom," said Gordon Elementary School Principal Joel L. Grim. "She challenges students with a rigorous curriculum while differentiating their instruction. Her kind demeanor encourages positive relationships and assists children in doing their best!" Mrs. Goodrich has 38 years of teaching experience and 22 years of those have been with DoDEA. She began her DoDEA career when she taught for four years at Upwood Elmentary School, RAF Upwood, United Kingdom. She taught second grade at Devers and first and third grades at Murray Elementary School, both at Fort Bragg, NC.  She joined the staff at Gordon Elementary in the fall of 2008 and in January 2009 helped open the new Gordon Elementary School building.  Ms. Goodrich graduated from Florence State University, Florence, AL., with a Bachelor's of Science degree in Elementary Education. She earned her Master's of Arts degree in Elementary Education from the University of North Alabama, where she also earned her Education Specialist degree in Elementary Education.  

"Geary Schwartz is a teacher that pushes his students to demonstrate their knowledge on math concepts so that he can prescribe the correct intervention," said Fort Campbell High School Principal Mohan Vaswani. "He measures students on mastery as opposed to behavior in regards to turning in assignments. In doing so, he teaches productive work habits embraced by his students. His students understand that hard work has its rewards. Mr. Schwartz also works with school data to drive the school improvement process in the school while embedding data collection into everyday classroom practices across the school." Mr. Schwartz began his career with DoDEA in 1982, in Bitburg, Germany, where he primarily taught mathematics, initiated the lab classes, and coached football, basketball, soccer, cross country and track and field. In 2003, he began teaching mathematics, specifically Algebra 1 and 2, and the associated lab classes at Fort Campbell High School, Fort Campbell, Kentucky. Schwartz earned his Bachelor's of Science degree in Physical Education, with a minor in mathematics.    He earned his Master's degree in Education and Curriculum from National Louis University in 1998. He taught and coached at public schools in Connecticut and Florida prior to joining DoDEA. Schwartz and his wife, Samantha, have two sons.  

Once the packets are received at DoDEA Headquarters, a selection panel uses a rubric to evaluate the National Teacher of the Year (NTOY) Applications including their DVD presentation. The top four rated applicants are interviewed by telephone by the panel. From those four, the DoDEA Teacher of the Year is selected about mid-October. The DoDEA Teacher of the Year's application package is sent to the NTOY Office to compete for the National Teacher of the Year. The DoDEA Teacher of the Year, whether he or she wins or not, will participate in the National activities and events that are sponsored by the NTOY point of contact in Washington D.C.