Ms. Latonya L. Leeks was born into a military family as the youngest of six children. A native of Fayetteville, North Carolina and graduate of E.E. Smith Senior High School, Ms. Leeks attended North Carolina Central University in Durham where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English with a concentration in Media Journalism in 1995. Upon graduation, she applied for a position as a lateral entry middle grades reading teacher at Douglas Byrd Middle School and Spring Lake Middle School. While working as a full time teacher, she earned her professional teaching license in Middle Grades Language Arts from Fayetteville State University.
Throughout the nine years that she dedicated to the classroom, Latonya was presented with several leadership opportunities to include Site Coordinator for 21st Century Community Learning Center, 7th grade Team Leader, co-author and Curriculum Coordinator for the Impact Technology Grant (a $1.35 million dollar three year grant), and Teacher Literacy Coach/Parent Facilitator. In 2005, she was appointed Assistant Principal of Manchester Elementary School in Spring Lake, NC. While working full time as Assistant Principal, Latonya earned a Masters in School Administration from North Carolina Central University in 2006. In all, Ms. Leeks dedicated 14 years to the children of Cumberland County Schools where she has had the pleasure of mentoring and encouraging students through high school graduation and beyond.
In 2010, Ms. Leeks accepted a position at Fayetteville State University as the Professional Development Schools Coordinator in the School of Education, helping to form partnerships with surrounding local educational agencies while assisting students in preparation for field experience and clinical practice in the educational field. Moreover, Latonya served as an instructor in the Department of Middle Grades as well as a workshop facilitator for college students who require assistance in Praxis I Reading. In 2012, Ms. Leeks began her journey in the Department of Defense Education Activities as Principal of Elliott Elementary School in Beaufort, S.C., where she served for five years prior to her reassignment to Bowley Elementary School in July 2017
Ms. Carricia Simpson’s educational journey with the Department of Defense Education Activity began in December 2011 in Fort Benning, Georgia. While stationed at Fort Benning, she served as an elementary general education teacher and a middle school English Language Arts teacher. Ms. Simpson was selected to serve as an assistant principal in the New York/Virginia Mid-Atlantic District for Quantico Middle High School in August 2017 and is currently the assistant principal for Crossroads Elementary School since July 2019. Ms. Simpson’s responsibilities as an assistant principal include: establishing DoDEA educator performance elements and evaluating teacher work, gathering and analyzing student achievement and other related data to inform the decision-making process, especially regarding school improvement efforts, and initiating communications between school administration, students, teachers, parents, the local Quantico Complex community, and Marine Corps Base Quantico offices that provide services to Crossroads Elementary School. She has pledged to promote student growth and achievement, as described by the BLUEPRINT for Continuous School Improvement, through leadership, support, and collaboration. Ms. Simpson’s administrative commitment entails supporting a focused collaborative learning community for the staff and a positive climate for military-connected students. Improving student achievement in diverse learning environments has been the primary emphasis of her career.
Throughout her career and numerous permanent change of duty station moves with her military family, an excerpt from The Dandelion-The Official Flower of the Military Child best summarizes the life, career, and collaborative relationships of Ms. Simpson; ‘Experts say that military children are well-rounded, culturally aware, tolerant, and extremely resilient. Military children have learned from an early age that home is where their hearts are, that a good friend can be found in every corner of the world’. Like countless military children, Ms. Simpson has always found caring friends everywhere she has resided. She is the fifth child born into a loving military family of seven children. Comparable to many of our Department of Defense students, she affectionately refers to herself as an “Air Force Brat.” She graduated from the Richmond County Schools System as a North Carolina Scholar. Given the heart of an educator early in her academic career, she attended East Carolina University (E.C.U.) of Greenville, North Carolina, and graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Elementary Education with a specialty in Reading. E.C.U. is also where she met and upon graduation married now retired after 25 honorable years in service to the United States Army Mr. Bruce Simpson, Sr.
Ms. Simpson’s higher education goals led to obtaining a Reading Recovery certification and a Master of Education degree with a specialty in Reading from Cameron University of Lawton, Oklahoma. She also received a School Administrator certification from Saint Martin’s University of Lacey, Washington. The US Army has afforded the Simpson family numerous occasions to travel and experience the rich diversity that our great country has to offer. During four military permanent changes of duty stations, Ms. Simpson taught primarily in federally funded Title I middle schools as a Reading Specialist. She treasures her years of service in Title I schools as a season of preparation for serving as a DoDEA educator.
Ms. Simpson is passionate about servant leadership. Servant leadership for her manifests itself through professional learning and community service. She has designed and facilitated professional learning for focused collaborative communities with subject matter ranging from college and career readiness standards in the area of literacy, guided reading, cooperative learning, differentiated instruction, Ruby Payne's Framework for Understanding Poverty, and reciprocal teaching to Scholastic Reading Inventory Lexile ranges. Ms. Simpson’s servant leadership in the community and private sector range from serving as a Parent-Teacher Organization President, serving in the time-honored Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, and performing charitable service projects for Jack and Jill of America, Incorporated. While Ms. Simpson has been the recipient of professional and public sector accolades such as: awarded the National League of Junior Cotillions’ Best Mannered Teacher, being the recipient of the Dane C. Paresi Vision of Hope Grant for outstanding leadership in a Title I school, named the Clover Park School District Certificated Employee of the Year, her military family being featured in the nationally syndicated Family Circle magazine, and local Dupont, WA Home Town Clipper newspaper; she considers her greatest blessings in life to be a military spouse and the loving mother of four beautiful children