CAMP LEJEUNE, NC — March 9, 2021 — The Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) Americas Region is pleased to announce Leigh Anne Kapiko Faulkner, principal of Tarawa Terrace Elementary School on Camp Lejeune, NC, as the 2021 DoDEA Americas Principal of the Year.
“Ms. Kapiko Faulkner’s work in creating an inclusive learning environment in which students and teachers can excel sets the example for others,” said Dr. Judy Minor, DoDEA Americas Director for Student Excellence. “In addition, her dedication to building relationships with parents and community stakeholders has led to a strong sense of community and shared responsibility for education at Tarawa Terrace Elementary.”
Kapiko Faulkner began her career in education as a teacher in Clinton, NC. She joined DoDEA in 1991, as an English teacher at Lejeune High School, and went on to serve as a principal and assistant principal at two North Carolina schools. In 2009, Kapiko Faulkner returned to DoDEA to accept the principalship at Tarawa Terrace Elementary School.
Kapiko Faulkner completed her undergraduate and master’s degrees at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. “I am very honored and have drawn so much inspiration from my Tarawa Terrace ES family, inclusive of staff, students and parents,” said Kapiko Faulkner. “The command here at MCB Camp Lejeune has shown incredible support for our schools and that strong partnership has energized us to reach new heights.”
The DoDEA Principal of the Year Program recognizes outstanding school principals, one in each region, who have succeeded in leading high-quality learning opportunities for students as well as demonstrating exemplary contributions to the profession. The process begins at the local level, where principals are nominated by peers, employees, parents, students or community members.
One of the Regional awardees will be selected as the DoDEA Principal of the Year, and proceed through a national association nomination process, representing DoDEA at the national level. During the year, the chosen Principal of the Year will serve as an ambassador to their profession, be provided leadership growth opportunities, and support DoDEA priorities and initiatives.
DoDEA plans, directs, coordinates, and manages Pre-Kindergarten through 12th grade education programs for school-aged children of Department of Defense personnel who would otherwise not have access to a high-quality public education. DoDEA schools are located in Europe, the Pacific, Western Asia, the Middle East, Cuba, the United States, Guam, and Puerto Rico. DoDEA also provides support and resources to Local Educational Activities throughout the U.S. that serve children of military families.