While a few schools on military bases within the continental United States and its territories, were operating prior to World War II, the school system we know today as the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA), formally began with the establishment of dependents schools in October 1946 in the occupied countries of Germany, Austria and Japan. In 1994, Congress unified the domestic and overseas operations under the Department of Defense Education Activity. As a DoD Field Activity today, we enjoy national recognition for our accomplishments.
A lot has changed during the history of DoDEA. If you are looking to do a deeper dive into our history, we have compiled some research, resources and references for you.
Museum of the American Military Family founder, Dr. Circe Olson Woessner, gives a little tour of the museum's "Schooling with Uncle Sam" exhibit and explains why it is important to preserve military family history. If any DODEA student would like to write a story about their military family or a favorite memory for the museum's archive, the museum would love to have it!
Uncle Sam Exhibit
Museum of the American Military Family Director, Circe Olson Woessner, teams up with Shanon Hyde from the Shanon Show to interview DoDEA Director Tom Brady to learn more his role in the school system, what makes DoDEA so successful and more. As DoDEA celebrates 75 years, Museum of the American Military Family Media and the Shanon Show will highlight incredible DODDS/DoDEA educators in future podcasts.
Uncle Sam: Tom Brady
American Overseas Schools Historical Society provides searchable online yearbooks for American overseas school alumni or former students. The online yearbook database includes overseas schools from all over the world in a convenient, searchable format organized by each school’s country and city.
Silver School Bells
Author: Ole Olson
From DSS to DoDDS
Allen Dale Olson
Walworth Publishing, 1986
DoDDS Pacific Region
40th Anniversary Yearbook
The American Overseas Schools Historical Society (AOSHS)
DoDDS Reunion (#34 July 2022, Kansas City, Missouri)
Museum of the American Military Family & Learning Center
"Overseas Dependents Schools of the Department of Defense: Their Origin, History, and Unification”
Ed.D. dissertation, The George Washington University, 1965
Allan Dale Olson
"A Historical Study of the Establishment and Evolution of the United States Dependents Schools in Europe: 1946-1971"
Ed.D. dissertation, The George Washington University, 1972
William F. Delaney
“A History of the Department of Defense Dependents Schools: 1965-1980”
Ed.D. dissertation, The Catholic University of America School of Education, 1982
Harold Clifford Brown
“Dependents Schools, Okinawa, Japan 1946-1978”
A Thesis submitted to Oregon State University in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Education, October 1980
Linda L. Kruger
“Logistics Matters: The Growth of Little Americas in Occupied Germany”
Note: Later published as a book (2017) by the same name.
See Textbooks, teachers and the Dependents School System (DSS).
The citation of publications, organizations and/or the appearance of hyperlinks does not constitute endorsement by the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) of non-U.S. Government sites or the information, products, or services contained therein. Although DoDEA may or may not use these sites as additional distribution channels for Department of Defense information, it does not exercise editorial control over all the information that you may find at these locations. Such links are provided consistent with the stated purpose of this website.