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Jeff Sparling named 2015 Japan District Teacher of the Year

Mr. Sparling teaches third grade at The Sullivans School, in Yokosuka, Japan.

Japan DSO
| March 27, 2014

Mr. Sparling with his students on Crazy Hat Day during Read Across America week.

Mr. Sparling with his students on Crazy Hat Day during Read Across America week. | Photo: Sullivans ES photo archive

Mr. Sparling has been teaching for 12 years, 10 with DoDDS. He received his Bachelors of Science from Northern Arizona University and his Masters of Education in Leadership from Capella University.   Mr. Sparling worked as a third grade teacher in Williams, Arizona before he joined DoDDS where his first assignment was at Ikego Elementary School in Zushi, Japan.

When  told  of the selection,  Dana Chandler, Sullivans School  Principal  said, "Mr.  Sparling's sense  of humor, creativity and rapport with students allows him to build a trusting community of learners that extend the walls of the classroom."

Mr. Sparling strives to build a responsive classroom community where children trust their environment and feel safe taking risks.  He stresses a rigorous academic curriculum and incorporates social-emotional growth to help facilitate positive interaction. He believes in providing feedback over criticism, measuring progress over measuring grades, and providing multiple opportunities over multiple-choice questions.  Mr. Sparling instills pride and respect for the many ways students challenge themselves daily.  He adds, “When students know you genuinely care about them, they want to come to school. If they respect you, they listen to you while they are there. If they trust you, they take risks and show a willingness to grow and change. If you inspire them they are forever changed.”

Every year the DoDEA "Teacher of the Year" honors educators that have made an exceptional difference in the lives of their students and provided inspiration to their peers. "We are proud to announce our teacher of the year.  Mr. Sparling exemplifies what it means to be a 21st century teacher and we are so fortunate to have him as a part of our Japan team," commented Ms. Lois Rapp, Japan Superintendent.

The Department of Defense Dependent Schools Japan District is one of four school districts within the Department of Defense Education Activity Pacific Region. DoDEA Pacific provides a comprehensive preK-12 education to the children of military and eligible civilian personnel families serving throughout Asia. DoDEA Japan District is composed of 21 schools, approximately 8,300 students and 1100 professional educators and support staff. To learn more, visit

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