ALEXANDRIA, VA — March 11, 2022 — The Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) Pacific region is pleased to announce Ms. Lucille Sutherland, principal of Kinser Elementary School in Okinawa, Japan, as the 2022 DoDEA Pacific Principal of the Year.
“Ms. Sutherland is a dedicated educational leader who has demonstrated a strong commitment to the students, families, and staff at Kinser Elementary,” said Ms. Lois Rapp, DoDEA Pacific Region Director for Student Excellence. “She embraces opportunities to partner with the local community. Under her leadership, Kinser students have engaged in meaningful cultural exchange activities with local Japanese students, a partnership that has continued virtually during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Ms. Sutherland has served as principal at Kinser since 2017. Previously, she served as principal at Lakenheath Elementary, located in the DoDEA Europe West District, from 2011-2017.
“I’m honored, humbled and very grateful for the title, but it’s not a title for me,” said Sutherland. “It’s about us working together as a team and recognition that we’re getting things right for the students and families here at Kinser.”
Ms. Sutherland believes students must feel safe at school in order to learn. Every student at Kinser has identified trusted adults in the building with whom they are comfortable talking. These adults build relationships with students, providing social and emotional support. “It’s important to me that there’s more than one adult that students build a relationship with because we each may see something different in a student,” said Sutherland. “Then we work collaboratively as a team and figure out what we need to do for each student.”
Ms. Sutherland holds an educational specialist degree in Educational Leadership from Northcentral University, a master’s degree in Organizational Management from University of Phoenix, and a bachelor’s degree from Cortland State University. A lifelong learner, she is currently pursuing a doctorate at Liberty University.
The DoDEA Principal of the Year Program recognizes one outstanding school principal in each region. These individuals 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-age children of Department of Defense personnel who would otherwise not have access to high-quality public education. DoDEA schools are 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 agencies throughout the United States that serve children of military families.