ALEXANDRIA, VA — May 19, 2020 — Second grade teacher Lachanda Garrison has been selected as the 2021 Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) Teacher of the Year.

“Lachanda Garrison is a remarkable teacher in every regard, beloved by her students and held in high esteem by her peers,” said DoDEA Director Tom Brady. “She consistently demonstrates teacher leadership, and has an unparalleled commitment to student learning. We are fortunate to have Ms. Garrison as a DoDEA teacher and are proud to honor her as the 2021 DoDEA Teacher of the Year.”

As a second grade teacher and teacher leader at Bahrain Elementary School, Garrison partners with fellow educators and other community stakeholders to embolden her students along their academic journey. Her 13 years with DoDEA includes teaching first and third grade, multi-age grades, and as an instructional coach in elementary mathematics and literacy.

Garrison is a military spouse and grew up attending DoDEA schools, graduating from Kubasaki High School in Okinawa, Japan. She truly believes in DoDEA’s mission to ‘educate, engage, and empower military-connected students to succeed in a dynamic world,’ as she embodies her DoDEA education and teaching experiences.

Lachanda Garrison is the epitome of a lifelong learner. She participates in a number of professional learning communities within and outside of DoDEA while facilitating learning experiences at the school, district, and national levels. Garrison believes that having a learner’s mindset is necessary to grow as an educator; essential to staying current with the most effective instructional and pedagogical practices; and important in building confidence and self-efficacy among students and teachers alike.

Garrison has a Bachelor of Science in Information Systems Management, a Master of Education in Instructional Technology and a Master of Arts in Mathematics Teaching.

The DoDEA Teacher of the Year Program recognizes and honors exemplary Pre-K through high school teachers. The process begins at the nomination level where teachers may be nominated by peers, administrators, parents, students or community members. Each District Teacher of the Year is selected by a district panel using specified criteria. Eight teachers were named District Teacher of the Year for 2021. Each District Teacher of the Year is invited to apply for the DoDEA Teacher of the Year.

Along with the public recognition and the award, Garrison will gain entry into the National Teacher of the Year (NTOY) application pool and will be recognized by the President (pending scheduling) at a future White House ceremony. She will also attend the NTOY Conference and participate in the Council of Chief of State School Officers (CCSSO)-sponsored Teacher of the Year events.

The year of service for the 2021 Teacher of the Year will begin on January 1, 2021 and run through December 2021. The selection is made months before the term begins to allow the DoDEA candidate and other candidates from the 50 states time to participate in the National Teacher of the Year program which selects a finalist in December. The current (2020) DoDEA Teacher of the Year's term runs through the end of December 2020.

A complete listing of this year’s recipients is listed below. Additional information about DoDEA's Teacher of the Year Program, including points of contact, may be found on the DoDEA web site.

DoDEA plans, directs, coordinates, and manages Pre-Kindergarten through 12th grade education programs for school-aged children of Department of Defense personnel who would otherwise not have access to a high-quality public education. DoDEA schools are located 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 Activities throughout the U.S. that serve children of military families.

2021 Teacher of the Year
Lachanda Garrison 2nd Grade Teacher
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