Department of Defense Education Activity

Mrs. Jenaya Parris - Mendel ES Principal

Mrs. Parris began formally working with children in various childcare settings in 1996. In 2001, she accepted a position with Catholic Charities Head Start in Baltimore City while she attended Coppin State University in her home state of Maryland. After earning her Bachelor of Science degree in Early Childhood Education, Mrs. Parris joined the Montgomery County Public School system (MCPS). During her tenure in MCPS, she taught 5th, 1st, and 2nd grades. As a classroom teacher, she took on several school leadership roles to include grade level team leader, Mentor Teacher for University of Maryland student teachers, and Teacher in Charge. She completed a Master of Education in Administration and Supervision (PK-12) from Loyola University in 2009. After leaving the classroom in 2012, Mrs. Parris held other positions that allowed her to advocate for children, families, and teachers in Maryland.

In 2015, her curriculum work led to a position at DoDEA Headquarters as the PK-5 Social Studies ISS. This position allowed her to coordinate Social Studies and support schools throughout DoDEA. She missed working directly with children, their families, and teachers and decided to head back into a school-based position. In August of 2017, she joined the team at Patch Elementary School in Stuttgart, Germany as the Assistant Principal. In 2018, Patch Elementary was selected as a National Blue Ribbon School as a result of the collaborative efforts of Mrs. Parris, her Principal, and a group of teacher leaders. In June of 2020, she returned to the states to join the team at Barkley Elementary school as Principal. As a member of Team Barkley, Mrs. Parris has spent her time engaging the school community in the work of aligning its practices and school culture with its vision… “Caring, Believing, Achieving Beyond Expectations”.

In addition to her experience as a classroom teacher, Mrs. Parris has worked for the Maryland State Department of Education as an Early Learning Program Specialist. In this role, she supported her department with oversight of the Maryland Preschool for All and Prekindergarten Expansion grants, coordinated operations of the Early Childhood Curriculum project, and was an active member of the state’s accreditation review committee. She also coordinated the Maryland Approved Alternative Preparation Program in Early Childhood Education (MAAPP-ECE). This program provided an alternative pathway to teacher certification in ECE to professionals in other fields who were passionate about teaching and learning.

Mrs. Parris is currently pursuing a graduate certificate in Restorative Practices from the International Institute of Restorative Practices (IIRP) as well as an Ed. S in Curriculum and Instruction from Middle Tennessee State University.

Joining Mrs. Parris will be her husband, Norberto; her two children, Nathan and Elaine; and her mother, Daphne. Mrs. Parris is excited about starting this new chapter as Principal of Mendel Elementary. She is honored to have the opportunity to lead, learn from, and grow with the staff, students, and families of the Mendel community.

Mrs. Jenaya Parris

Mendel ES Principal

Official Photo


Phone: 042-552-2510 Ext. 55503/5504
Phone: 315-225-5503/5504
Fax: 042-552-2510 Ext. 55502
Unit 5072
Yokota AB
APO , AP 96328-5072
Yokota, Japan

Ms. Holly Vance - Mendel ES Assistant Principal

Ms. Vance is thrilled to be joining the Yokota community and comes to us with 16 years of educational experience, 12 of which have been with DoDEA. Ms. Vance has a Bachelor of Social Work from the University of Wyoming, a Master of Arts in Teaching in Elementary Education from Sierra Nevada College, a Master of Education in Guidance and Counseling from Angelo State University, and a Master of Arts in Educational Leadership from Framingham State University.

Ms. Vance began her teaching career as a middle school special education teacher in Sparks, Nevada. She then moved to Charleston, SC, where she taught middle school social studies. Her DoDEA career began stateside at Fort Bragg, NC, and Camp Lejeune, NC, where she taught elementary special education and was CSC co-chair. She then got the opportunity to teach second grade overseas at Ankara Elementary High School in Ankara, Turkey. While stationed in Turkey, Ms. Vance attained her Masters in School Counseling and became the Ankara Elementary High School counselor. Ms. Vance is coming to Yokota from Netzaberg Middle School, in Grafenwoehr, Germany, where she was currently serving as the school counselor.

Ms. Vance believes in a holistic approach to education. She wants to promote a school culture where academic, physical, social, and emotional needs are the emphasis. She aspires to create a safe and secure school atmosphere for optimal student and teacher achievement. Ms. Vance prides herself on working collaboratively with students, teachers, and stakeholders. She emphasizes using data driven discussions to communicate and determine not only individual needs, but also the needs of the whole school. As an instructional leader, Ms. Vance prioritizes instructional quality as well as encouraging a meaningful learning environment for both students and teachers. She feels developing a common, transparent, and collective analysis of learning is the catalyst for improved teaching practices. Ms. Vance considers life-long learning a passion of hers and hopes to encourage this throughout the school environment.

Ms. Vance’s leadership philosophy is to inspire a school of educational leaders who empower tomorrow’s leaders. She strives to work collaboratively with students, teachers, parents, and community members to ensure the success of each student. Ms. Vance believes that with creativity and critical thinking, every child can learn, achieve, and thrive.

Ms. Vance is coming to Yokota with her husband, daughter, and cat. During her free time, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, reading, cooking, traveling, sunshine, and watching Discovery+.

Ms. Holly Vance

Mendel ES Assistant Principal


Phone: 042-552-2510 Ext. 55503/5504
Phone: 315-225-5503/5504
Fax: 042-552-2510 Ext. 55502
Unit 5072
Yokota AB
APO , AP 96328-5072
Yokota, Japan