Department of Defense Education Activity

Mrs. Sonya Gates selected as DoDEA Pacific East District Community Superintendent

For Immediate Release — October 28, 2022 | Pacific

Mrs. Sonya Gates, Community Superintendent, Pacific East District.

OKINAWA, JAPAN — October 28, 2022 — Dr. Jacqueline Ferguson, DoDEA Pacific East District Superintendent, is pleased to announce the selection of Mrs. Sonya Gates as Community Superintendent for the DoDEA Pacific East District, located at Yokota Air Base, Japan.

Mrs. Sonya Gates currently serves as principal of Grafenwoehr Elementary School in DoDEA’s Europe East District. She is dedicated to improving the educational experiences of students, enhancing and supporting the professional growth of teachers and fostering partnerships with parents and the community.

“I am excited about this opportunity to serve in a new capacity within DoDEA and have a larger impact on the lives of military-connected students,” Mrs. Gates said. “I am committed to supporting military-connected families, ensuring that all students have equitable access to quality instruction, highly qualified teachers and learning opportunities that prepare them for citizenship and college and career readiness.”

Mrs. Gates began her career with DoDEA in 2006 as an Instructional System Specialist for Distance Learning/Blackboard. Mrs. Gates also served as an instructional designer and assisted in the development of the DoDEA Virtual High School. Mrs. Gates later became the Instructional System Specialist for Career Technical Education for DoDEA Americas. During that time Mrs. Gates provided leadership in developing the Science Technology Education Mathematics (STEM) DoDEA Americas Area Initiative. Mrs. Gates also established strategic partnerships with Georgia Institute of Technology/CESMIC/NASA program, the Gwinnett Science and Mathematics Academy, Gwinnett Heritage Center and other local educational agencies to extend educational opportunities for students and professional learning experiences for teachers. Mrs. Gates served as a team member on the DoDEA Headquarters Task Force for the DoDEA College and Career Ready Standards rollout and implementation; participated in the Chief Council of State School Officers (CCSSO) College and Career Ready Standards for Mathematics (CCRSM) Assessment in the Spring 2015; and co- developed and facilitated College and Career Ready Standards for Mathematics training for special education teachers throughout DoDEA Americas. Mrs. Gates also served as a team member on the 21st Century Teaching, Learning and Leading Education Task group and co-developed and facilitated the 21st Century Teaching and Learning professional development for DoDEA Americas administrators and teachers during the opening of the first DoDEA 21st Century School, Hampton Elementary School.

Mrs. Gates is an experienced educator with more than 28 years of instruction, curriculum development and management experience in both K-12 and post-secondary education. Mrs. Gates began her career teaching chemistry at Dekalb College in Clarkston, Georgia. She later became certified in secondary science education and was a high school science teacher for Atlanta Public Schools in Atlanta, Georgia. Mrs. Gates also served as the director of a satellite campus for Mercer University College for Adult Learners and later worked as the lead Instructional Technology Specialist at Spelman College for the Science, Mathematics and Technology departments, working to integrate technology and build virtual learning opportunities for faculty and students.

“Mrs. Gates brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the Pacific East District,” Dr. Ferguson said. “As Community Superintendent, her collaborative leadership style and strong understanding of student learning, curriculum, and instruction will benefit students, staff, families, and the greater military communities we serve.”

During her career Mrs. Gates has focused on improving instruction for students and increasing the professional capacity of educators by designing and facilitating professional development both online and face to face for school administrators, teachers and educational staff. Mrs. Gates believes it is her responsibility that every child receives the best education with the most talented educators in a caring, accepting, and positive environment.

Mrs. Gates holds a bachelor's degree in Chemistry from Jackson State University and a master’s degree in Science Education from Clark Atlanta University. Mrs. Gates obtained her Specialist in Educational Leadership and Supervision from Lincoln Memorial University in 2010.

Mrs. Gates has been married for 25 years to her husband, Ralph, and they share three sons. As a family they enjoy traveling, bowling and meeting new people. They are strong advocates for students with special needs and participate in local and national advocacy organizations to show their support.