Debra Knudsen, the Hessen Teacher of the Year, is a DoDEA educator, teaching at Hanau American Middle School, Hanau, Germany. She is a Language Arts teacher, as well as a teacher of "at-risk" students. Debra has been teaching with the DoDDS schools for 24 years.

She began her teaching career in Akron, Iowa, and then went to Darmstadt, Germany in 1976 with her husband who is also an educator. They have also taught and worked in Kaiserslautern, Germany, and Augsburg, Germany. Debra received her doctorate in education in 1985. She was a finalist for PDK's Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation Award, and won the NCTE Richard Mead Award for outstanding research in language arts and teacher education. She is a teacher consultant and Co-Director of the Germany Writing Project.

Throughout her years in education, she has been an advocate for students, serving on editorial boards, working with writing festivals and symposiums, Author's Clubs, Homework clubs, SIP committees, PTSA, SAC, and Booster Clubs. She is a teacher who loves her job, and believes that teaching is the greatest of all callings. As she prepares lessons, interacts with parents, students, and colleagues, she models her conviction that teachers need to be committed, dedicated, and determined to make a difference in the lives of students, and in turn, the nation, and entire world. Each day in the classroom she is the catalyst for tremendous learning for her students!

"I believe teaching is one of the greatest of all callings and I do believe it has to be a calling in order for one to be an outstanding educator. I believe I make a difference each and every day for each and every student. I mix high expectations for all students with respect for all."

Debra Knudsen
Debra Knudsen
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